It’s easy to get caught up in our own bubble of troubles, but this International Women’s Day, March 8, Netflix is bringing us a documentary to remind us all the fight for equality is so much bigger than ourselves — here’s what you need to know.
Ladies First follows the story of Deepika Kumari, who grew up in rural India. India, the country that was named the worst place for women to live among G20 nations in 2012. Yet Kumari overcame the odds. Marie Claire reports she was foraging for food and discovered archery by accident when she was just 12.
“When I started, I didn’t even know a sport like archery existed,” Kumari explained.
By age 18, she was the world’s No. 1 archer. Yeah, a total badass, like a real-life Katniss from The Hunger Games. The downside? Her hunger games weren’t a fictionalized dictatorship in the future. It was a real struggle she faced every day, not to mention the gender discrimination she battles constantly even now that she has found international success.
“In our country, even those who are well-educated believe that girls cannot play sports,” Kumari said in the trailer for the film. “In my opinion, they are crazy.”
Kumari went on to compete for her country in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The documentary follows her during this journey to win a medal in the competition.
Spoiler alert: She didn’t take home the gold, but that doesn’t make her story any less inspiring. She has become a public figure in her country, an advocate for women’s rights.
She is even trying her hand at acting. Hindustan Times reports Kumari will star in a movie called Bisahi, a film that will highlight the evil practice of witch-hunting, which is still practiced in some areas of the country. Yes, witch-hunting. USA Today reported that nearly 2,000 people, mostly women, were killed between 2005 and 2015 in India because they were accused of witchcraft.
Kumari reportedly initially refused to act in the film, but agreed after reading the script because she was so moved by the story.
She is also continuing her archery career and is preparing to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She most recently won the bronze medal at the Indoor Archery World Cup in Bangkok. She was the only Indian to win a medal for the country.
You can watch Ladies First on Netflix this Thursday, March 8.