The ages-long struggle to empower women all over the world has long been impeded by a lack of access to proper education. Poor educational standards and resources in many different places across the globe notwithstanding, statistics show that women in particular have faced great difficulties in the field of education. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school (Education First: An Initiative of the United Nations Secretary General, 2012) and 66 million girls are out of school globally (2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report).
There have also been figures to prove that access to quality education has helped women–and by extension, there families–lead better lives everywhere. Women who attain one year of education more than the average earn 20% more as adults (The World Bank, 2011), and a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5 (UNESCO, 2011).
But what exactly are the barriers that have impeded the fight for women’s equal rights to education? Societal and cultural standards in some countries dictate the way women should lead their lives, robbing them of the choice to attain proper education and put their life in a certain direction. Such women are subject to early marriages, gender-based violence, domestic slavery, and sex trafficking. The voices of these women are drowned out, never to be heard in a call for their own rights.
With this rise up call, then came Girl Rising. A 2013 film produced by Kayce Freed, Tom Yellin, and Holly Gordon at The Documentary Group in partnership with Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen of Vulcan Productions, and directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins. Famous personalities such as Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloë Grace Moretz, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington narrate the film.
The documentary revolves around nine girls from different countries: Amina from Afghanistan, Sokha from Cambodia, Yasmin from Egypt, Azmera from Ethiopia, Wadley from Haiti, Ruksana from India, Suma from Nepal, Senna from Peru, and Mariama from Sierra Leone. Their stories are penned by writers from their respective countries and given voice by the above actors.
Since its release in March 2013, the film has inspired a global movement of the same name, spearheaded by journalists of the Documentary Group. The movement has been supported by different global NGOs such as A New Day Cambodia, Plan International, Room to Read, CARE, Partners in Health, World Vision and Girl Up. This March the movement comes into the forefront in the Philippines.
“Rise Up: A talk on women’s right to education and a special screening of Girl Rising” will be held on March 15, 2014 at the UP Film Institute in Diliman, Quezon City. The talk will feature speakers such as Ms. Karen Davila representing World Vision Philippines, UP Professor Sylvia Estrada Claudio from UP Center for Women’s Studies, and UP Professor Bernadette Villanueva Neri from Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas. This event shall be held in honor of National Women’s Month by UNESCO Club UPD, a students’ organization accredited by the National Association of UNESCO Clubs in the Philippines (NAUCP).
UNESCO Club UPD is a university-based, non-partisan organization that aims to promote the understanding and the embodiment of the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization among students of the University of the Philippines Diliman. At present, it has a membership of almost forty members from different colleges around the campus. The organization has successfully conducted talks on topics such as social entrepreneurship and the cultural history of Philippine dances (in partnership with UPD performing group Kontra GaPi), as well as participated in movements such as I Am PGH.
Pre-registration is open at http://tinyurl.com/RiseUp2014. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/UNESCOClubUPD.
Watch Girl Rising Official Trailer at http://tinyurl.com/GirlRisingOfficialTrailer.