Every era has a moment when the scales begin to tip. For the world’s women and girls, that moment is now. Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG) combines the power of documentary film, national television broadcasts, local and new media, and engagement activities to support existing NGO efforts to empower women and girls and drive social change.
WGLG is a public-private partnership between USAID, the Ford Foundation, and ITVS, working in collaboration with CARE. The three-year, nine-country, 30-film media project will promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide, creating a ten-episode documentary film series each year about women and girls rising above dire circumstances to seek better lives for themselves, their families, and communities. Through partnerships with local NGOs, the films will be used to engage audiences in conversations about the challenges they face, and to brainstorm their own solutions.
The Tipping Point
WGLG comes at a time of great momentum for women’s and girls’ rights worldwide. Through her incredible story of survival, young Pakistani activist Malala Youszafi has inspired world leaders and grassroots communities alike to seek innovative ways of promoting girls’ education. A tragic incident of sexual violence on a New Delhi bus sparked demonstrations in India and abroad to protect women’s rights and give them a voice in attaining justice. Communities across the globe are seeking solutions to the age-old challenges that still face women and girls – girls’ education, child marriage, violence against women and girls, economic empowerment, leadership opportunities, and reproductive rights.
Women and Girls in Film
This global momentum has been reflected among ITVS-funded filmmakers. From the diverse voices ITVS works to illuminate, we began to see a momentous increase in stories about women and girls. We compiled a collection of powerful films about role models and change-makers from Chicago to Kabul to Freetown, and created Women and Girls Lead, a campaign in the U.S. to raise awareness about the challenges and the triumphs of girls and women worldwide. The enthusiastic response of audiences across the United States to these films, and the important conversations they sparked, inspired us to create this new international initiative – Women and Girls Lead Global.
Broadcast – Bringing “Women of the World” to Global Audiences
Each year, for three years, WGLG will partner with public broadcasters in nine countries – Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, and Peru – to broadcast ten films through the “Women of the World” Series. From an unlikely group of young change-makers in an Indian slum community, to Nobel Peace Prize winners in Kenya and Liberia, the films tell stories relevant to our diverse audiences. You can learn more about this season of “Women of the World” on the Films page.
Engagement – Driving Social Change
Beyond the broadcast, ITVS strives to create deeper connections between films and audiences. Through domestic programs like Women and Girls Lead and Community Cinema, ITVS has built a legacy of meaningful community discussion and engagement. In five of the nine WGLG countries – Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Kenya, and Peru – we will build on this foundation through a series of facilitated community screenings, policy events, trans-media campaigns, local content production, and other exciting engagement activities. WGLG’s Country Engagement Coordinators, in partnership with global alliance partners and local organizations, create social change campaigns on issues that deeply impact women and girls in each country. You can read more about the campaigns – promoting girls’ education through efforts to delay marriage and provide better access to reproductive health services, paving the way for women to take on leadership positions, and challenging harmful ideas about masculinity – in the Countries section of the website.