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Celebrate Women’s History Month Programming on WTTW

Meredith Francis
Helena Bonham Carter in character as Noele "Nolly" Gordon being photographed by paparazzi.
Helena Bonham Carter as Noele "Nolly" Gordon. Credit: Quay Street Productions and MASTERPIECE.

March is Women’s History Month, and WTTW is celebrating with programming that highlights the achievements women have made in politics, civil rights, art, literature, science, and more. Plus, Sunday, March 17 brings a new season of Call the Midwife and a new Masterpiece series called Nolly starring Helena Bonham Carter, who portrays British soap opera actress Noele "Nolly" Gordon. Many shows are also available to stream via the PBS app or at any time.


The Vote: American Experience

Sunday, March 3 at 7:00 pm on WTTW Prime
One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote –  a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history.

Closing the Gap: 50 Years Seeking Equal Pay

Sunday, March 3 at 11:00 pm on WTTW Prime
Half a century after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women in both high-paying, high-growth STEM careers and those in part-time, low-wage jobs still only make, on average, 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Closing the Gap: 50 Years Seeking Equal Pay scrutinizes hotly debated statistics and moves beyond highly politicized and over-simplified talking points to explore the factors contributing to the wage gap. 

Ida B. Wells: A Chicago Stories Special

Monday, March 4 at 8:00 pm on WTTW
This documentary and companion website trace Ida B. Wells' career as a journalist, activist, and organizer in Chicago. They delve into her battle to keep Chicago Public Schools integrated, her forays into the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago politics, and her ascendance to the national and international stages as an anti-lynching activist and a powerful Black voice on behalf of women’s suffrage. You can stream the show any time, too.

Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom

Monday, March 4 at 9:30 pm on WTTW
Go beyond the legend and meet the woman who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery. One of the greatest freedom fighters in U.S. history, Tubman was an Underground Railroad conductor, a Civil War scout, and a spy.

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir – American Masters

Sunday, March 10 at 7:00 pm on WTTW Prime
An intimate portrait of the groundbreaking author of The Joy Luck Club interweaves archival imagery, including home movies, personal photographs, animation, and original interviews to tell the inspiring story of Tan’s life and career.

Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space – American Experience

Sunday, March 10 at 9:00 pm on WTTW Prime
A new biography of influential author Zora Neale Hurston, whose groundbreaking anthropological work would challenge assumptions about race, gender, and cultural superiority that had long defined the field in the 19th century.

The Sun Queen: American Experience

Sunday, March 10 at 11:00 pm on WTTW Prime
For nearly 50 years, chemical engineer and inventor Maria Telkes applied her prodigious intellect to harnessing the power of the sun. An unexpected and largely forgotten heroine, Telkes was remarkable in her vision and tenacity – a scientist and a woman in every way ahead of her time. Her research and innovations from the 1930s through the ’70s continue to shape how we power our lives today.

Chicago Stories: Jane Addams – Together We Rise

Monday, March 11 at 8:00 pm on WTTW
Jane Addams was inspired by a settlement house in London’s impoverished East End to create Chicago’s Hull House. Chicago Stories profiles this Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist and the cadre of women who joined her in her quest to enrich the lives of thousands of immigrants. Stream the show and explore the companion website.

Mae West: Dirty Blonde – American Masters

Thursday, March 14 at 8:35 pm on WTTW
Dive into the life and career of groundbreaking writer, performer, and subversive star Mae West. Over a career spanning eight decades, she broke boundaries and possessed creative and economic powers unheard of for a female entertainer in the 1930s.

Becoming Frida Kahlo

Friday, March 15 at 6:00 pm on WTTW Prime
Explore the life of celebrated artist Frida Kahlo in a three-part docuseries. See the major personal and political events of her life, including her stormy and devoted relationship with artist Diego Rivera, whom she married not once but twice.

Call the Midwife Season 12 Marathon

Sunday, March 17 beginning at 11:00 am on WTTW
Ahead of the season 13 premiere of  Call the Midwife, catch a marathon of season 12 all day on WTTW.

Call the Midwife Season 13 on Masterpiece

Sundays beginning March 17 at 7:00 pm on WTTW
A new season of Call the Midwife premieres on Sunday, March 17. In the first episode, Nonnatus House kicks off a new pupil midwife training, Dr. Turner supervises the delivery of a baby whose mother has cerebral palsy, and the “Raise the Roof Campaign” for better pay and conditions creates a divide of opinion among the nurses.

Nolly on Masterpiece

Sundays beginning March 17 at 8:00 pm

In a new series, Helena Bonham Carter stars as British soap opera actress Noele "Nolly" Gordon, one of the most famous faces on British TV in the 1960s and ’70s, whose unceremonious firing from her hit show at the height of her career was front-page news. A bold exploration of how the establishment turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, Nolly is an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate, and heart-breaking portrait of a forgotten icon.

Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands – American Masters

Friday, March 22 at 7:00 pm on WTTW Prime
Discover an international singer who captivated royalty in Europe and defied the conscience of America. Watch rare archival footage and hear audio recordings exploring her life and career from the Metropolitan Opera to the State Department. Read an interview with the director of the documentary.

Inventing Improv: A Chicago Stories Special

Saturday, March 23 at 6:00 pm on WTTW
It may be Chicago’s greatest cultural export: improvised theater that was carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. But this art form wasn’t created by a funny man – it was devised by a woman who wasn’t out for laughs. Explore the life and legacy of Viola Spolin, the social-worker-turned-theater guru known as “The Mother of Improv.” Explore the companion website, or stream the show any time.

Supreme Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor – American Experience

Sunday, March 24 at 5:00 pm on WTTW
When Ronald Reagan nominated the late Sandra Day O’Connor as the Supreme Court’s first female justice in 1981, the announcement dominated the news. During her 25 years on the Supreme Court, O’Connor was the critical swing vote on cases involving some of the 20th century’s most controversial issues, including race, gender and reproductive rights – and she was the tiebreaker on Bush v. Gore.

Chicago Stories: Jane Byrne

Monday, March 25 at 9:00 pm on WTTW
Chicago Stories remembers the city’s first female mayor. After pulling off one of Chicago’s greatest political upsets, Jane Byrne found herself caught between the political machine that shaped her and the reformers who elected her. Visit the companion website to learn more about Byrne’s tenure as mayor, and stream the show.

Bonnie Boswell Presents: Saving Moms

Sunday, March 31 at 10:00 am on WTTW
Boswell’s conversation with leading experts examines why groups of women disproportionately experience higher mortality rates related to pregnancy and childbirth in the country. Boswell addresses disparities and contributing factors that result in poor health outcomes for mothers and babies as well as ways local public health professionals are combatting the national crisis.

Twyla Moves: American Masters

Sunday, March 31 at 11:00 am on WTTW
Twyla Moves explores the life of legendary dancer, director, and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Jumping from historical footage to the present day, the film traces her influential career while providing an intimate look at her famously rigorous creative process.