Growing Up Female with Union Maids

Growing Up Female

Directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein


Union Maids

Directed by Julia Reichert, Jim Klein, and Miles Mogulescu

Wednesday, February 12, 6 pm

$9 / $7 Speed members


Growing Up Female is the very first feature length film of the modern women’s movement. Shot in 1970, it caused controversy and exhilaration. The film looks at female socialization through a personal lens into the lives of six women, ages four to thirty-five, and the forces that shape them: teachers, counselors, advertising, music, and the institution of marriage. It was widely used by consciousness-raising groups to generate interest and help explain feminism to a skeptical society. It offers us a chance to see how much has changed—and how much remains the same. Selected for the National Film Registry in 2011. 1971, U.S., DCP, 52 minutes. Recommended for 12+.


Union Maids opens up one of the great untold stories in our history—the fight to form industrial unions. The Depression period comes alive through the eyes of three remarkable women: Stella, Sylvia, and Kate. We follow them as they leave their small farms for the big city—Chicago—following the bright lights and looking for work. With good humor and a knack for storytelling, the women share their experiences. They find jobs working fourteen hours a day in factories where management has all the power and workers have none. Their anger grows as they experience the second-class treatment of women and minorities. The film documents their recollections of their first union meetings, the days of the sit-down, organizing the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the stockyards, and facing police shotguns to fight the evictions of unemployed workers. Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 1978. 1976, U.S., 16mm, 48 minutes.  Recommended for 12+.