Rise of the Wahine is a historical documentary chronicling the central role that Hawai'i played in unlocking opportunities for women forty years ago. The 1970's were a flash point for women’s opportunities in America, and female athletics at the University of Hawai‘i, especially volleyball, became the center of the fight.
Timothy Ing from the UH Alumni Association says, "UHAA is partnering with Rise of the Wahine because we are proud of our alumni and our school and the indelible impact that it has made in our nation. We also wish to do all we can to help communicate and share this story, so that all may appreciate those that came before us and the sacrifices and hardships they endured so that we may have a brighter today."
Mostly unknown heroes like Dr. Donnis Thompson (UH’s first women’s athletic director), Patsy Mink (U.S. congresswoman from Hawai‘i), and UH Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji were ahead of their time and instrumental in breaking down barriers across the nation that prevented girls from obtaining degrees in higher education and being able to play sports.
"We're incredibly excited to partner with the alumni of UH. This mostly untold story is an exciting part of their heritage, and we're finding most alums have never heard of it," said Tiffany Taylor, a producer on the film. "These pioneers include several University of Hawai‘i faculty and alumni and they played central roles in the sweeping changes for women’s opportunities in sports and education."
The film is centered around one woman, Dr. Thompson, and the birth of the first Rainbow Wahine volleyball team – a scrappy group of players that took us from “who would want to watch girls play?” to fervent, forever UH pride.