Unstoppable Stories for Social Change

Images by Simon Luethi

On January 14, 2016 the Ford Foundation, ITVS, USAID and Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG) invited a diverse group of filmmakers, NGO leaders and educators to experience the impact of media and social change for women and girls around the world at a very special event at the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York City. The event highlighted the successful collaboration between these organizations to use film to reduce child marriage, gender-based violence and teen pregnancy around the world.

Distinguished speakers included CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison, Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell, and Country Engagement Coordinator Mahmud Hasan of Women and Girls Lead – Bangladesh, who shared real stories of change stemming from film screenings and campaign activities in Bangladesh over the past three years. The audience also enjoyed sneak peeks at two new Women of the World Series films – Girl Connected – an exciting new film being produced by Koen Suidgeest featuring inspiring young women in each of the five WGLG program countries, and Elisa Paloschi’s Driving with Selvi – about a young woman who escaped a violent child marriage to later become South India’s first female cab driver. The highlight of the evening was watching Selvi – who had just appeared on the screen – step onto the stage, much to the delighted surprise of the audience.

Selvi joined a panel that included UN Women’s Director of Programme Maria Noel Vaeza, USAID’s Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment Susan Markham, and CARE’s Senior Director of Gender & Empowerment Doris Bartel. Moderated by ITVS Senior Vice President of National Production and Strategic Partnerships Tamara Gould, the panel discussed the role of media and storytelling in illuminating the diverse voices of women and girls around the world. Selvi discussed her definitive experience being the subject of a film. At first hesitant to tell her story to filmmaker Elisa Paloschi, she has since realized that she can make an important contribution to the way the world perceives and understands women’s challenges. Selvi’s is a message of blossoming self-confidence. She hopes that by telling her story, she will inspire others to find their voices and platforms as well.

See more of the event on our Facebook page photo album.