Tag Archives: Gender equality

CHANGE THE WORLD BY EDUCATING GIRLS: THE FILM GIRL RISING By Carina Schiltz & Mytch Dorvilier, 2nd year M.Div. Students

Reviewed by Carina Schiltz and Mytch Dorvilier 2nd year M.Div. Students

 Girl Rising is a film and a global movement to educate girls as a means of breaking cycles of global poverty. The movie was released in March 2013, and Wartburg Seminary recently held a screening, sponsored by the Global Advocacy Committee. Girl Rising, directed by Richard E. Robins, and Academy Award nominated, is a global action campaign for girls’ education as well as a moving and inspiring film to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education to global prosperity and peace. After the film, the audience engaged in meaningful discussion, lessons, and were encouraged to think about important political, cultural, historical, economic, and geographic issues tied to educating girls — and about their responsibilities to their own communities and their role as global citizens.

The documentary, created in partnership of girls and writers follows the stories of nine girls from Peru, Haiti, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, and Cambodia. It highlights the lives of nine young girls striving beyond circumstance and overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams:  Sukha the Phoenix, Ruksana the Dreamer, Suma the Emancipated, Yasmin the Superhero, Senna the Warrior, Azmera the Courageous, Amina the Hopeful, Wadley the Undaunted,  and Mariama the Catalyst. The film shows challenges they have faced in their daily lives that bar the way to education, safety, and integrity. Some stories end in hope, but not all.

Educating girls is crucial because this results in safety, health, and independence. The  entire world is positively affected: their own children are more likely to be educated and communities thrive. Education helps provide a way to stay out of forced marriage, domestic slavery, human trafficking, and childbirth, which is the number one cause of death for girls ages 15-19.

Access to education is a basic right, however, around the world, 66 million girls are out of school. What are they doing instead? Many do not have a choice. They are working and earning money for their families. Often sons get priority to attend school rather than daughters. The girls may be married very young, already have children to care for, or they have been sold into domestic slavery. Thirteen girls under the age of 18 have been married in the last 30 seconds. In the time it took to read this paragraph, another thirteen girls around the world were married rather than being in school.

Educating girls raises national GDP which will continue to increase because educated people are more likely to send their own children to school, creating a cycle of prosperity and innovation. But the benefits of educating girls are not just in the future: some benefits happen right away. When girls and boys are educated together, studies show that conflict in those countries is reduced.

The film features voice over from Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchet, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keyes and Kerry Washington. The film could be used for Sunday school, confirmation class, and other groups to introduce students to the issues surrounding girls’ education in the developing world, and it’s transformational power.

Want to change the world? Advocate for girls’ education. Reduce poverty, sexual violence, and increase health and prosperity for girls, their communities, and the world.


100th ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY by Mamy Ranaivoson, M.Div. Senior

This year the whole world celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. It is a big day in developing countries each spring. People can’t wait for this day to cry out for women’s issues, women’s rights, gender balance, gender equity, and empowerment of women because of the great injustices done to women in the world. We don’t hear much about it in the United States.  Is it because we believe the women here are treated with more dignity? Maybe…

I am from Madagascar and I would like to share a bit about our country. Many people heard about Madagascar from the Hollywood movie titledMadagascar . Basically, people know some facts about animals, like Lemurs, butterflies, and chameleons that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, but very few people know that before colonization, before Christianization, we already had queens in Madagascar. You can Google it on the internet by typing Queens of Madagascar in the search and it will give you the names and pictures of them. Our country was led by women until the French came and colonized our country. They made a law that no women were allowed in the high office and they deported our last queen to die outside of Madagascar. Since then, we went back to the patriarchal system of leadership. Too bad!

My hope is that the Malagasy Lutheran church will recognize the qualities of women in leadership and our church will ordain women soon. We need to keep the rights of women in the forefront in all the world, including the United States. Remember International Women’s Day