Monday, March 18, 2013

Girl Rising - a powerful call to action

Yesterday I went to see ‘Girl Rising’, a movie about individual girls from nine developing countries who are determined to be educated against all odds. Produced by 10 x 10, a global action campaign for girls’ education which believes ‘Educate girls and you will change the world’, the movie is a call to action to those who live in countries where education is now taken for granted and many kids consider school to be something they are ‘forced’ into.

In their, sometimes, harrowing stories in which poverty and gender discrimination conspire to create situations so desperate that most people would give up hope, these girls show a strength and tenacity way beyond their years. The responsibilities which many of them are saddled with at an early age are staggering in contrast to the demands placed on most children in developed countries today. I couldn’t help wondering what more fortunate children would think of the movie and whether it would make them any more appreciative of the opportunities they have been given. Maybe it should become required viewing at schools.

Despite the hope engendered by the girls’ incredible attitudes, it would be easy to walk away from the movie pessimistic given the scale of the problem remaining (according to UNESCO there are currently 66 million girls not in school).

I take some solace from the fact that in terms of history, educational opportunities, especially as they pertained to females, were not that different even in the developed world until the last century or so, proving that change is possible, albeit slow. The danger is that successive entitled generations will lose sight of the struggles the mothers and grandmothers of yesteryear had to go through to fight for those rights and may therefore be less conscious of those who are still fighting the battle, whether in less developed countries or in areas of poverty closer to home.

Fortunately with movies like ‘Girl Rising’ we have a powerful antidote to such apathy.


  1. I haven't seen it, Mel, but I've heard of it and will make a point of seeing it. It sounds like it should be a call to action. I'm saddened that so many people don't appreciate the educational opportunities we enjoy.
    Congrats on new book almost here!

    1. Thanks Sylvia. The movie is not on general release, but there are specific showings being arranged in communities all over the country by individual supporters via Gathr. The Girl Rising web-site lists the various events and also tells you how you can arrange your own showing if there is not one near you.