Worldwide one in three women will experience some form of violence by their partner. 200 Million girls and women continue to be affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). Only one-fourth of all political decision makers are women. On average women earn 77% of what men do. While much progress has been made towards gender equality, the statistics show there is still much work to be done.
WHY WOMEN? raises awareness about the ongoing challenges women and girls face today. Through six thought provoking documentaries and ten short films narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren, WHY WOMEN? inspires interest, prompts critical thinking and fosters a debate about girls’ and women’s health, rights and well-being around the world.
In this film we venture with HRH Crown Princess Mary, when she visits the poverty-stricken West-African nation of Burkina Faso. Here, she joins the efforts of local women to gain the right to self-determination over their own bodies. We also revisit HRH’s visit to Senegal last year, where she was involved in the campaign against Female genital mutilation – a painful practice causing harm to millions of women in Africa and some parts of Asia. She reveals the details of her work in the struggle for women’s rights and for empowering disenfranchised women across the globe.
Every single day 39.000 girls under the age of 18 are sold of to marriage. Every single day at least two women are acid-attacked in India. On the African continent more than three million girls and women are circumcised every year. The statistics are frightening, yet things are moving in the right direction, due to the efforts of many strong advocates around the globe. State of the Women follows inspiring women during one day of their lives, providing the audience with a unique insight to their everyday lives. In the film you will meet the young Afghan rapper Sonita, the Chinese feminist activist Li Ting Ting, CEO of Save the Children; Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and other inspiring and strong women.
Mary Joy Dao-Ay is a Filipino maid who used to be a domestic worker in Lebanon. She left her 3 children in the Philippines, planning to pay for their education by earning a higher salary working in the Middle-East. Instead, she was forced to flee for her own safety, and got stuck in Lebanon seeking refuge at a shelter. The secret slaves of the Middle East is the story of Mary Joys’ desperate struggle for justice, in a country with no labour laws protecting foreign domestic workers, and where the special Arab Kefala-system renders it impossible for an unskilled worker to leave the country or change their employer. It is the story of how poverty leads unprivileged women from developing countries to be deceived and trafficked into slavery.
"There are still so many obstacles for girls and women. We must never forget to fight this battle. I am proud to take part in 10 short films directed by talents form different corners of the world - shedding light on the challenges faced by women and girls globally"
-Dame Hellen Mirren
What if? poses a series of hypothetical questions, which ask how the world would be different if women were treated equally to men in the world of work. The narrator speculates that closing the gendered gaps in labour participation and wages, would lead to a fairer, wealthier and more equal society.
One Extra Year uncovers the myriad of ways in staying one extra year in school benefits both the girls themselves and the wider society. Acknowledging the numerous barriers which inhibit girls continued learning, this film makes a powerful case for greater investment in girls education.
Striving for Utopias explains how over millennia, every society on earth has suppressed women’s sexual rights and bodily freedoms. Laying bare the insidious effects of sexist laws, this film calls for the creation of a Utopia in which women’s sexual liberation is finally realised.
Facts of Life uses stark comparison to illustrate health inequality between countries. Highlighting the bleakness of such startling disparity, the narrator compels the audience to be a part of changing these Facts.
In the form of an imagined letter to her Father, a woman details how systemic gender inequality excludes women from positions of power. The letter openly asks, how women can become a part of these spaces, calling on the listener to help make this possible.
What Ami Did Not Know is a thought-provoking look at the prevalence of maternal mortality in developing countries. From the perspective of the new-born Ami, the inequality of access to maternal care is laid bare.
It Started with a Duck, highlights how something as simple as a duck can advance women’s economic empowerment. Through a seemingly unlikely means, this film unpacks how women are able to play a key role in climate change adaptation and help build resilient communities.
Every Year, Every Hour, Every Minute makes the urgent case for widespread and safe access to contraceptive services. Access to these services is considered vital for reducing ¼ of all maternal deaths and for establishing women’s right to decide how they want to live their lives.
The Benefits of a Toilet uses clever animation to uncover the various benefits of something the Western World takes for granted; access to a toilet. The stark inequality of access to adequate sanitation is revealed to disproportionately affects girls and women; impeding their learning, ability to work and even their safety.
One Bride, Seven Cows or a Box of Heroin weaves together stories of the forced marriage of young girls from Sudan, Vietnam and Afghanistan. The striking similarity of the girls’ experiences highlight the prevalence of this practice across the world.
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