Makers shares the digital history of women who make America great

Thanks to Whitney Matheson at PopCandy, I spent most of Monday watching videos at Makers, a new site featuring video interviews with exceptional women from around the world.

The joint project of AOL and PBS, which launched last week, plans to be the “largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.” And they certainly are off to a good start in doing exactly that. Here’s the trailer.


As is the case with any collection of extraordinary women, les/bis figure prominently in the mix. So far, Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King and Dr. Susan Love have videos on the site.

Here, King talks about being outed and the consequences of deciding to tell the truth about her sexual orientation.


Love shares how she fell in love with her wife of 28 years.


Makers also interviews women with less recognizable names who made a big impact on the world. Brenda Berkman was an attorney working with sexual discrimination cases when she decided to take on the City of New York by applying to be a firefighter. Her own lawsuit opened the department to female firefighters for the first time.


Berkman, a first responder on 9/11, testified at a New York City Council hearing on the lack of benefits to same-sex partners of city emergency workers who died in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.

Although Makers just launched last week, it already has 75 videos from women who represent a variety of industries and political viewpoints, from Geraldine Ferraro to Phyllis Schafly. You can browse the videos by name, industry or topic. One of my favorites so far is from Theresa Kane, the nun who publicly challenged the pope on the exclusion of women from Catholic ministry. But every video I watched brought me to the verge of tears at the remarkable courage of conviction demonstrated by these women.

PBS has launched a companion site to help draw attention to the project and to track progress of a three-hour documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America, which is scheduled to air in early 2013. The network has planned a community engagement campaign to create local initiatives for women to share their stories. Follow @makerswomen for regular updates.

Take some time to explore Makers and watch a few videos. And don’t be surprised if you emerge a few hours later, feeling more empowered than you have in a long time.

What do you think of Makers? Please share your favorite moments as you watch.

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