Women Are Not Little Men

Contemporary and archival images are contrasted against the text of a 1950s industrial safety & training manual, exposing and critiquing the widespread belief in the existence of a weaker sex.

colour & B&W,
15 minutes

Starring Jeffrey Flieler

With Joseph Callaghan, Lisa Cupoli, Allyson Mitchell, Jane Farrow, Jeff Sterne, Matthew Perry, Eleanore Hayes
Music by Philip Stanger
Cinematography by Mazako Nagai
Written & Directed by Lisa Hayes

Funded in part by the National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker Assistance Program.

Women Are Not Little Men has been utilized extensively in media educational programs at both secondary and post secondary levels and is included on two different eductional DVDs: Fem Crit – Selected Experimental Works for Educational Environments, produced by the CFMDC and Reading Television.

Film Festivals

Split Film Festival, Croatia, September 1998
Cinematheque Winnipeg, Canada, October 1998
New Orleans Film & Video Festival, USA, October 1998
Siena International Short Film Festival, Italy, November 1998
Bilbao International Festival of Documentary & Short Films, Spain, November 1998
Festival Tous Courts, Aix-en-Provence, France, December 1998
Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival, Victoria, B.C., Canada, January 1999
Bangladesh Short Film Forum, Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 1999
femme totale International Women’s Film Festival, Dortmund, Germany, March 1999
“Journey of Women” Film Festival, Marseille, France, March 8, 1999
Ann Arbor Film Festival, USA, March 20, 1999.
Women in the Director’s Chair, Chicago, USA, March 19-28, 1999
Princeton Canadian Film and Video Festival, Princeton, USA, March 25 -27, 1999
Mediawave Film Festival, Györ, Hungary, April 26 – May 1, 1999
Images Festival of Independent Film & Video, Toronto, Canada, April 22 – May 1, 1999
International Short Film Festival of Mons, Belgium, April 24, 1999.
Mad Cat Women’s Film Festival, San Francisco, USA. September 21, 1999.
Quand les Lesbiennes se font le cinema, Paris, France. 1999.
St. John’s Women’s Film Festival, Newfoundland, Canada, October 1999
Contemporaty Issues Film Festival Loule, Algarve, Portugal, June 17 – 23, 2000.
Light Plays Tricks Film Festival, Kingston, Ontario, October 19, 2001.
Other Cinema, San Francisco, November 10, 2001.
Flying Broom Women’s Film Festival, Ankara (Turkey), May 2 – 9, 2002. Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour, stopping at over 25 cities across the USA and Canada, March – November, 1999.
WANLM was selected to be a part of the prestigious Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour. The tour stopped in: Portland, Oregon; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; Kent, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Iowa City, Iowa; Waterville, Maine; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Davis, California; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; Ann Arbor, Michigan; San Rafael, California; Los Altos Hills, California; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Bethlehem, New Hampshire; Houston, Texas; Pittsburgh, PA; Ithaca, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Brooklyn, New York; Regina, Saskatchewan; Vancouver, BC; San Francisco, California.


  • IFC (Independend Film Channel), Canada.
  • ZeD TV, CBC, Canada.
  • The Comedy Network, Canada.
  • CBC, “Canadian Reflections”, Canada.
  • KQED TV, PBS affiliate in San Francisco, USA.


  • Scanning Television II: Media Literacy Educational Kit, Vancouver B.C.
  • University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Sheridan College, Oakville, Canada
  • York University, Toronto, Canada


  • Heartbeat Radio Interview: EZ Rock, Toronto. April 23, 1999. “Women Are Not Little Men in the Homebrew 2 program at the Images Film Festival.”
  • Huffman, Kerri. 1999. “Few gems to be found at Images ’99,” THE ANNEX GLEANER. April 1999.
    One of the best films in Home Brew series is Lisa Hayes’ Women Are Not Little Men. The film consists of instructions from a 1952 safety and training manual on how to integrate women into factory positions traditionally held by men. Hayes creates an ironic yet critical documentary by using archival footage along with dramatizations. While the narrator discusses the scientific reasons why men are stronger than women, images of men hauling beer into their trucks float along the screen. Women Are Not Little Men illustrates that you can make a political statement in film without being obvious…
  • Punter, Jennie. 1998. “Celebration of the rejects. Salon welcomes films that didn’t make the big fest,” THE TORONTO STAR. September 11, 1998.
  • Moviola. 1998. “Happy, happy rejects,” EYE WEEKLY. September 10, 1998.

Production Notes

Eleanore Hayes left school in grade 11 and took a job working in a factory. At that time, women were not encouraged to stay in school, but fortunately the job gave her the economic independence to buy an 8 mm camera which she used to document some of her experiences working in an all-women section of the factory. She left this job in 1967 when her second daughter, Lisa, was born. In 1989, Lisa Hayes was studying Electrical Engineering at University in a class made up of less than 20% women, when a female classmate gave her a photocopy of a 1952 safety document titled “Women Are Not Little Men” which was full of ridiculous statistics and “facts” trying to prove that women are inferior to men. Lisa was appalled to see that such false ideas were being used to train men on how to deal with women in the work force. She knew that this document would some day serve a purpose, and tucked a copy away for future use.

In 1996, with one film production complete, Lisa re-discovered this manual and knew that it had to be exposed, to serve as a permanent record of the struggles that women have faced in striving towards equality. One day of shooting dramatic recreations in December was followed by one years worth of archival research in Toronto, Ottawa and New York, optical printing of archival material (including some of Eleanore’s 8 mm footage), re-working the material, re-shooting, re-editing, more research, etc. The film finally found its form in March 1998.

It is true that women have come a long way towards equality since 1952. Although some men may still share the views contained in this manual, they would probably never speak them publicly. Without all the hard work by men and women who advanced the placement of women in society, this film could never have been made. After all, the University where Lisa studied did not admit female students until the 1960s.