How Television Networks Are Celebrating Women’s History Month in 2021

Popular on Variety

March honors the trailblazing women of history, and television is joining in by highlighting their triumphs and life stories.

Each day of March, MSG Networks will showcase a legendary woman in sports, including the University of Hawaii’s historic volleyball team from the early ‘70s and tennis icon Billie Jean King, for example, while Syfy is airing a series of autobiographical video shorts about female animators.

HBO Max, meanwhile, will debut a limited series about best-selling author Isabel Allende and a documentary about powerhouse Tina Turner. The streamer also curated several lists of their titles that feature unforgettable, on-screen women characters, such as Michaela Coel’s “Chewing Gum” and “I May Destroy You.”

Similarly, Hulu launched the “Made by Her” hub. The streaming platform’s Women’s History Month initiative features shows and movies that were awarded the “ReFrame Stamp” for having a gender-balanced production. Titles include “Shrill,” “Pen15” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s parent company, Disney, created the “Celebrate Women’s History Month” collection over on Disney Plus, which features “WandaVision” and “Mulan.”

Ovation is also recognizing Women’s History Month through a curated on-demand programming lineup, which includes documentaries “Beyonce: Queen B” and “Dolly Parton: Queen of Country” and episodes of “Inside the Actors Studio” and “Stars of the Silver Screen.” Ovation always aims to protect access to the arts, and this month the network will do so by airing public service announcements about organizations that create inclusive environments where women and girls can foster their talents.

“CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” is marking Women’s History Month with the continuation of “Women & The Pandemic.” The original series examines the long-lasting, disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, while also shining a light on women’s positive impacts in their local communities. The March 3 report looks into how Latina women are among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Read the full list of Women’s History Month new and original programming below. (More programming will be added to the list as networks announce titles.)

MSG Networks Celebrates Women’s History Month” (March 1-31, MSG Network, MSG Plus, MSG Go) – MSG Networks is celebrating Women’s History Month every single day in March by spotlighting 31 iconic women of sports. The short-form videos will include interviews with trailblazing athletes like tennis star Billie Jean King, in addition to long-form features. The lineup includes “Rise of Wahine: Champions of Title IX,” about the early 1970s University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team that went all the way to Congress to fight for gender equality. Programming also looks back at classic tennis matches, roller derby action and other women’s sports from over the years. It will re-air an enhanced version of the first-ever professional women’s ice hockey game played in Madison Square Garden, from Feb. 28, to include interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Herstory” (March 1-31, NBC, USA, SYFY, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Universal Kids) – NBCUniversal’s cross-network Women’s History Month campaign includes on-air spots, vignettes, interstitials and bumpers. Notably, SYFY teamed up with content creation platform Tongal for seven video shorts created by female animators. The video shorts share the creators’ experiences through the lens of science fiction and fantasy and are on SYFY, its website and its social media platforms.

Women are Essential” (March 1-31, NBC) – NBC News’ “Today” is shining  alight on inspiring women who have reached the greatest heights with the month-long series, “Women are Essential.” The March 1 feature spotlighted Air Force gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, the highest ranking female military member and the military’s only current female four-star general. To celebrate International Women’ Day, all four hours of the “Today” March 8 show is focusing on the challenges women have faced during the pandemic.

Our America: Women Forward” (March 8-13, ABC) – The ABC-owned stations in New York, N.Y., Los Angeles, Calif., Chicago, Ill., Philadelphia, Pa., San Francisco, Calif., Houston, Texas, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Fresno, Calif. are dedicating their “Our America” series to to celebrating women across the country by sharing their stories of perseverance, hope and triumph. Beginning March 8, ABC is airing an episode of the five-part series each night to introduces women who rise above  sexism to achieve personal and professional success. The series culminates March 13 with an hour-long documentary.

Cheddar’s Women’s History Month” (March 8, Cheddar) – At 1 p.m. ET, Cheddar is celebrating International Women’s Day with a one-hour episode of “ChedHer,” which will feature Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen and Pinterest head of content and creator partnerships Aya Kanai. The financial news network is also running Women’s History Month content all throughout March.

Isabel” (March 12, HBO Max) – The life of the world’s most-read Spanish-language author is getting the biopic treatment. HBO Max’s three-part mini series about author Isabel Allende premieres March 12 and dives into her rise in the literary world and her political and personal tribulations, including the devastating death of her daughter. As an international bestselling author, Allende has been awarded the National Prize for Literature and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Tina” (March 27, HBO Max) – A new documentary about Tina Turner will reveal an intimate look at life and career of the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It includes never-before-seen footage and interviews with Angela Bassett (who played Turner in “What’s Love Got To Do With It”); Oprah Winfrey; journalist Kurt Loder (who co-authored “I, Tina”) and Turner herself, set in her Zurich, Switzerland hometown. It is ultimately a celebration of Turner’s talent, journey to stardom and embrace of her status as a beloved and respected survivor.