Television

What to watch on CBC Gem on International Women's Day

15 inspiring things to watch on IWD.

15 inspiring things to watch on IWD.

Vinessa Antoine in the role of Marcie Diggs in CBC Gem's Diggstown. (CBC)

March 8th marks International Women's Day (IWD), a day celebrating women's achievements on a global scale. In light of IWD, we share this list of inspiring stories of women across genres which show us that a gender-equal world is a better and a more colourful world.

From Workin' Moms, which tackles real struggles of working mothers through comedy to Frankie Drake Mysteries, which sees five witty, smart and cunning detectives solve some of the most complicated murder cases while grappling with life as a woman in the early 1920s, here are 15 things you can watch on CBC Gem on IWD.

Diggstown

Vinessa Antoine, best known for her role in General Hospital, stars in Diggstown as Marcie Diggs. Diggs is a star corporate lawyer who works directly in the community to find justice for her clients, exploring issues of racism, poverty and gender bias while fighting against the merciless criminal justice system that shows no mercy for our most at risk citizens.

Workin' Moms

Kudos to all the moms out there who are balancing the world on their backs. We give you the gift of Workin' Moms. The moms in Workin' Moms deal with some important and real questions all while working to advance their careers. How do we keep our kids safe while giving them independence? And how do you define a family? This comedy portrays the real life struggles of working women all around the world and if you are one of them, this will be your jam.

Little Women

Little Women, based on the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, has been adapted many times. And for a good reason. It's a powerful coming-of-age story about feminism, gender roles and individuality that follows the March sisters (Maya Hawke as Jo March, Willa Fitzgerald as Meg March, Kathryn Newton as Amy March and Annes Elwy as Beth March) on their journey from childhood to adulthood.  

In a time of social, class and gender divisions and under the guidance of their Marmee (Emily Watson), they find themselves having to adjust to a life and learn how to navigate everything from love and loss to sibling rivalry and gender roles without their father, Mr. March, (Dylan Baker) who is away at war and might not come back.

This 2017 iteration is a three-part mini-series, adapted by Heidi Thomas and directed by Vanessa Caswill.

Coroner

Serinda Swan, who stars in Coroner as Jenny Cooper, a coroner who investigates unexplained or sudden deaths in the city of Toronto, was literally a hero in one of her previous roles (Marvel's Inhumans). In Coroner, however, she is more of a silent hero who speaks for the dead. 

Jenny is also a newly widowed single mother who deals with clinical anxiety — but that doesn't stop her from doing her job and being a voice for those that can't speak for themselves. Though flawed and complex, Jenny is also smart and strong with secrets of her own to unearth.

Baroness von Sketch Show

This subversive all-female ensemble features some of Canada's best sketch comedians as they take aim right down the barrel of contemporary social trends and office politics. Meredith MacNeill, Carolyn Taylor, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen satirize modern day life and its everyday "first-world" problems, from the pretentiousness of ordering a fancy coffee to sexual politics and aging.

Anne with an E

Anne with an E is a must watch on IWD! Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, this classic story of an orphan — whose competitive spirit drives her, as does her love of nature, imagination, romance, and tragedy — follows Anne Shirley's life adventure from a place of childish wonder to a more mature perspective. Although the complicated feelings that come with this burgeoning maturity often confuse and distress her, Anne never loses her sense of wonder in her quest for love and acceptance. 

Frankie Drake Mysteries

An all-female detective agency in the 1920s Toronto? Yup, you read it right. Not only is Frankie Drake Mysteries created and produced by fierce women, it sees the sassy, snarky, smart and independent all-female lead characters challenge convention to fight crime and the system in a time when those types of duties were entrusted to men. 

Being Erica

If you could, would you go back in time and change things? Being Erica is a funny and magical dramedy series where the classic fantasy of revisiting the past offers 30-something year old Erica Strange a chance to come to terms with her choices in life. She gets to go back in time to relive and change her worst moments in life and though her journey is tough, Erica is not only 'strange' but strong, too.

Bellevue

Bellevue explores what it's like to be different in a small town where everyone cheers for the hockey team on Saturday and hauls themselves out of bed in time for church on Sunday. 

Annie Ryder, a cop whose intense and brazen personality has always been at odds with her hometown, never fit in. Ripping into the lives of those around her to solve a mystery won't help her either. She, however, doesn't seem to care.

Strange Empire

In this unique western series, Strange Empire revolves around the daily struggle of three women who are trying to survive, raise their families and build a decent community in the lawless land of southern Alberta in 1869. And we all know that women's rights at that time were quite different.

Feature Films

How She Move

Best known for her role in True Blood, Rutina Wesley stars in the role of Raya Green in How She Move, a film showcasing the street culture of step dancing.

Following her sister's death from drug addiction, Green, a high school student, is forced to leave her private school to return to her old crime-filled neighbourhood, where she re-kindles an unlikely passion for the competitive world of step dancing.

Winnie

Winnie is a drama that chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and politician and second wife of Nelson Mandela, from her childhood through her marriage and her husband's incarceration.

Meditation Park

Meditation Park follows the story of a devoted Chinese-Canadian wife and mother, Maria Wing, whose life is altered when the discovery of her husband's infidelity forces her to confront how powerless she truly is. Maria's efforts to find out the truth send her on a journey of liberation.

La Bolduc

At the beginning of the last century, a poor and uneducated Montreal mother manages to get her family out of its misery by becoming a folk singer of thundering success. Talk about an inspiring woman who overcomes adversity and rises to the top, a perfect story for IWD.

Gabrielle

The musically gifted but developmentally challenged Gabrielle lives in a group home with four other adults who have similar disabilities. Like all young women, Gabrielle wants her independence, but of course her situation is exceptional. With stubborn courage and a real zest for life, Gabrielle prevails against all odds to win her freedom, but at what cost?

Mohawk Girls

You'll have to watch Mohawk Girls after IWD, on March 12, but we just had to add it to our list. This fabulous foursome is on a mission to find happiness and a sense of self as they dive further out of their comfort zone and question the norms in a very traditional community.

Follow these and more exciting stories on CBC's free digital streaming service, CBC Gem.

What is CBC Gem and how can you access it?

CBC Gem is a free streaming service available as an App for iOS and Android devices, on television via Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast and the cbcgem.ca website. CBC Gem offers thousands of hours of live and on-demand programming — current episodes and past seasons of comedies, dramas, documentaries and more.

FAQs and more information about CBC Gem, here.

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