Last night I had the honor of attending a special preview of the PBS documentary film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The film was inspired by the widely acclaimed book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The event was hosted by the Ford Foundation and was moderated by award-winning journalist Ann Curry. The screening included exclusive footage and conversations with women’s rights leaders and activists who are featured in the film.
Maro Chermayeff, the Executive Producer and Director of the documentary, filmed the two part series in 10 different countries. The film follows Nicholas Kristof and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous women fighting against oppression all over the world.
As I watched segments of the film and listened to the panelists, the message became very clear. The problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds — present to us one of the most vital opportunities of our time: the opportunity to make changes to the way women are treated around the world.
It was very inspiring to hear Nicholas Kristof say that he feels hopeful that change is happening and there is more to come. Kristof said that no country can get ahead if it leaves half the country behind; women need their human rights and socio-economic rights protected in every society for there to be stability in any given country and in the world.
This is a film that should be watched by us all.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide airs on October 1 and October 2 on PBS at 9 pm eastern time.