The mission of UNLADYLIKE is to inspire, engage and educate audiences through an innovative multimedia series featuring extraordinary, unsung American heroines from the early years of feminism. 

In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020, the project will feature thirty-one 4-minute animated documentary shorts for the thirty-one days of Women’s History Month. While these trailblazers lived more than a century ago, their stories of overcoming unimaginable odds will inspire and model extraordinary persistence and courage for the girls and women, and boys and men, of today. 

On Election Day in 1920, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the very first time. It had taken activists and reformers nearly eighty years to win this right. The suffragists and their struggles have been widely covered in the history books and on film, but little attention has been given to their female contemporaries in other professions – pioneering women who likewise accomplished many “unladylike” things and made names for themselves in then-male-dominated professions such as science, business, aviation, journalism, and the arts. UNLADYLIKE will bring the stories of these heroines to life, profoundly change our view of women’s history and empowerment, and shed light on the obstacles that still impede women’s successes and what can be done to change them.

Each short will introduce an inspiring woman who came into her own during the Progressive Era (1890s to 1920s), a time of social and technological upheaval when women tested the waters of newfound freedoms and fought for the right to vote. The women of UNLADYLIKE hail from all walks of life and background. Ensuring racial, cultural, economic, and geographic diversity is one of our biggest priorities and one of the greatest strengths of this series. We will emphasize the social and racial prejudices these heroines faced, the emotional and physical roadblocks they overcame, their successes and failures, the men who supported them on their journeys, and what we can learn today from their persistence and the ways they battled oppression. 


A century later these stories of ‘refusing to take no for an answer’ resonate, motivate, and are more relevant and more needed than ever. Much progress has been made in women’s rights over the last 100 years and yet sexism remains one of the biggest barriers to women living sustainable and healthy lives. This past November, millions of Americans went to the voting booth believing they were electing the country’s first woman president. They were ready for the shattering of that famed glass ceiling. On January 21, 2017, millions from around the globe marched for women’s rights, sending a message of solidarity, rage, and possibility about the future of women’s empowerment. We have an opportunity to build upon this communal outpouring and use UNLADYLIKE to fuel and support a growing women’s movement here in the United States and throughout the world.

We may be preparing to put a woman on the $20 bill, but, as a nation and a planet, we still have a long way to go. The vast majority of leaders in the world remain men – out of 193 heads of state and government, only 20 today are women. Only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Women earn less than men for the same jobs. Women still do the lion’s share of housework and childcare, and often face more complex decisions when it comes to balancing their professional success and personal lives. The single most important requirement for economic development and good governance in the world today is widely recognized: empowering women.

UNLADYLIKE will do precisely that.


UNLADYLIKE is created, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Charlotte Mangin. Artwork and animation is by renowned visual artist Amelie Chabannes. Award-winning filmmaker Kathy Leichter is our development and impact producer. We are currently assembling an advisory board of women thought leaders, celebrities, academics, and educators.