Beyond the Sidelines: Shattering the Glass Ceiling in Women's Sports, Top ten Documentaries

4 de agost de 2023


"Champions keep playing until they get it right." - Billie Jean King


The fight for equality in the world of sports is an ongoing saga, as enthralling and heartbreaking as any great game. The victories are hard-fought, the defeats often brutal, but the spirit of the players remains unbroken. In the world of women's sports, the playing field is becoming more level with each passing day, but there are still leagues to go before we see true equality. This is the essence of the struggle we're focusing on today, exploring the stories of female athletes and their relentless pursuit of recognition, equality, and excellence in the field of sports.

The women's world soccer cup 2023 stands as a testament to the journey these athletes have undertaken, breaking barriers and records alike. The event has been more than just a competition; it is a celebration of the progress women have made in sports. It also serves as a stark reminder of the struggles that remain. Nevertheless, it represents a significant leap forward in the public perception and media representation of women in sports. But the journey to this point has been far from smooth.


From Grassroots to Glory - A Pitch Perfect Revolution


a woman in a yellow jersey shouts and raises her hand in a victory sign

As we delve into this complex topic, we find ourselves reflecting on a simple, yet profound truth - sports, in its purest form, transcends gender. However, societal structures and stereotypes have consistently marginalized women athletes, often sidelining their accomplishments and reducing their struggles to mere footnotes in the annals of sports history. But as the narratives are beginning to change, so too are the realities for women in sports.


Top 10 groundbreaking documentaries and docuseries that encapsulate the spirit, the struggles, and the soaring triumphs of women in sports:



A League of Their Own

a soccer player kisses a soccer ball

This documentary series, available on Netflix, is a riveting exploration into the world of women's soccer. Centered around the Women's World Cup 2023, the series dives into the players' preparation, challenges, and ultimate triumph. The series offers an intimate view into the lives of these exceptional athletes, their determination to win, and their tireless pursuit of gender equality in sports.


The Mark

two rugby players are fighting for the ball

Is a powerful documentary that delves into the poignant life experiences of six individuals, showcasing how rugby has served as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for personal transformation. Helmed by Slovenian director Aljaz Babnik and produced by the NGO PGR, founded by Olympic athlete and international rugby player Patricia Garcia, this film is part of 'Free Rugby, a project to change the World.' The project is driven by the goal of bettering the lives of individuals in vulnerable situations, fostering skill development, and instilling values to create contexts for integration and social transformation through the medium of sport. "THE MARK" serves as an emotional testament to the enduring human spirit, revealing how the shared language of sport can mend broken spirits, unite communities, and incite remarkable personal and collective growth.


Knock Down The House

a young woman covers her mouth in astonishment

This powerful documentary focuses on the journey of four women, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who dared to challenge the status quo in American politics. While not directly related to sports, the film brilliantly captures the essence of the female spirit, the relentless will to rise above societal expectations, and the enduring pursuit of a level playing field - themes that resonate strongly in the world of women's sports.



a young soccer player handles the ball

This documentary follows a Polish Women's Soccer League team during the pre-season weeks when they will have to build the values necessary to achieve the lofty goals they have set for themselves. Beautifully photographed in black and white, the film is a must-see for any lover of the world's most popular sport.


In A League of Their Own

posters of women baseball players from the 50s

This YouTube docuseries spotlights the first professional women's baseball league in the United States during the 1940s. It gives voice to the women who broke barriers, defied societal norms, and set the stage for the current generation of women athletes.


In The Turn

a girl with a purple helmet

The discovery of "Vagine Regime", a queer collective of Roller Derby, becomes Crystal's great hope to be able to play in a team of girls, an opportunity that was always denied in her school. Ever since her mother bought her a skirt shortly after, a difficult journey began for Crystal, whose transition has since suffered all kinds of harassment that at the age of five led her to consider taking her own life. 


Daughters of Destiny

a group of smiling women

Available on Netflix, this docuseries chronicles the stories of five girls from India's most impoverished families as they strive to attain a better future through education and sports. It's a poignant testament to the power of sports as a catalyst for change and empowerment.


Down, But Not Out!

a closeup of a female boxer

Four Polish amateur boxers, heading to an out-of-town match, are trailed by director Miguel Gaudencio's observant lens. Amid the suspense of the upcoming fight, brief smiles and banter provide temporary relief. Their male counterparts' bouts serve only to amplify the anticipatory tension. The black-and-white visuals underscore this tension, focusing on the psychological rather than the physical landscape, all revolving around the impending face-off. The documentary captures their warm-ups, measured breathing, strategic footwork - fleeting, ordinary moments carrying the weight of the boxers' futures.


Playing Unfair

a blonde woman celebrates the triumph with the t-shirt in her hand

This powerful documentary, available for online watching, investigates the media's representation of female athletes. It delves into the inherent sexism in sports broadcasting, highlighting the ways in which media outlets often diminish and sexualize women's accomplishments in sports.


Boxing For Freedom

young female boxer with a headscarf

After living as refugees in Iran, two Afghan sisters, Sadaf and Shabnam Rahimi, decided to challenge the patriarchal tradition of their country and become outstanding female boxers.


Each of these documentaries and docuseries contributes to a broader dialogue on women in sports, offering unique insights and perspectives on the triumphs, trials, and tenacity of female athletes. These narratives not only illuminate the realities faced by women in sports but also underscore the critical need for change.

The world of sports is slowly but surely changing to become more inclusive and equitable for women athletes. The journey is far from over, and the obstacles are far from few. But as these documentaries and docuseries showcase, the indomitable spirit of female athletes remains unwavering. Their stories stand as a testament to their resilience and dedication, shattering the glass ceiling and inspiring future generations to carry the torch forward. For every girl who dreams of standing on a podium, for every woman who yearns for equal recognition in sports, these narratives are not just stories - they are a beacon of change, a signal of hope, and a rallying cry for equality.


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