In this 2006 documentary, filmmaker Maryann Manelski follows a young Republican woman in a difficult bid to win a State Senate seat in New York City. Through the narrative and various interviews framing the story, the film reveals how various women think about each other and navigate the system and how women got where they are today.
Before films such as “Miss Representation” and books such as Sheryl Sandburg’s “Lean In,” there was Running in High Heels.
Running in High Heels was packaged and quite successfully sold as an educational film. It became part of the Political Science and/or Women’s Studies curricula at over 300 college and universities in the US and has played in all fifty states. It continues to screen on campuses and at political events in the run up to Election Day and during Women’s History Month (March.)
The film follows the narrative of Emily Csendes, a local candidate running for New York State Senate. As a young candidate in her 20s, Emily embarks on a journey alternately humorous and exasperating in the context of women’s struggles to access equal opportunity.
Intercut with Emily’s story are interviews and commentary by notable women from the right and left of America’s political spectrum, ranging from Phyllis Schlafly, conservative stalwart, to Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority to Rosalind Wiseman, whose work on the psychological warfare and unwritten social rules with which girls (and women) deal was the basis for the movie “Mean Girls”. Through their debates they illustrate the various needs for a healthy democracy to not only have women participate but to lead.
Interview subjects include:
* Myrna Blyth, author of Spin Sisters and former Editor-in-Chief, Ladies Home Journal
* Dr. Heidi Hartmann, Founder of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research
* Sherrye Henry, author of the Deep Divide, aide to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter
* Nancy Pfotenhauer, Fmr. President, Independent Womens Forum & Republican Strategist
* Phyllis Schlafly, conservative activist and author
* Eleanor Smeal, womens activist and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation
* Betty Spence, President of the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE)
* Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees