Controversial film challenges global misogyny

“Girl Rising,” a new documentary about the lack of women’s education around the world, is scheduled to show at the Carmel High School Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

The film will be hosted by the Carmel Public Library Foundation, which, according to their executive director Amy Donohue, intends to “be a valuable and relevant resource that creates access to these resources, furthers knowledge and inspires action on humanitarian topics. We want to open doors that widen perspectives and help prepare global citizens.”

The world over, violent and systemic misogyny has done something that most students in North America cannot even imagine: prevented girls from going to school. But with young, female activists such as Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan, rising to action, the education of women and girls has become a popular topic everywhere from Mumbai to CHS. “Girl Rising” calls for radical education reform in developing nations and aims to stimulate conversation in North America and Western Europe.
Girl Rising
So why exhibit this message to the Carmel area, where girls being denied a right to learn is simply a negative afterthought? To raise awareness, Donohue says.

“I know, having a daughter who was a Carmel High School graduate, that community service and global humanitarian projects are important and interesting to high school students.”

Donohue also mentions that executive producer and creative officer Martha Adams will be present at the showing to answer questions on how to get involved.

Chris Mitchell, CHS graduate of 2008, substitute teacher and promoter for the event, agrees with Donohue’s sentiments.

“It’s important to create awareness of this issue in places like the Central Coast, where people have a generally progressive and generous attitude, prone to social activism. The under-education of girls is not only a great social injustice, it is a major drag on the world economy.”

In many countries around the world, the potential of the population’s economy is essentially halved due to the withholding of education to women.

“In essence,” Mitchell says, “this is a topic that is relevant to all of us, not only as human beings, but as consumers and workers…. When you hurt one half of the population, you cannot help hurting the other half.”

It will also be possible to donate to the film’s cause at the screening, and not just financially.

“They believe that educating girls is the smartest investment of our time,” Donohue says. “They have many ways that people can join the movement and become a champion of girl’s education.”

According to the documentary’s website, the overall mission of “Girl Rising” is to “change the way the world values the girl,” to break the poverty cycle and remove such symptoms of ingrained misogyny as gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex trafficking. This change, they say, would ensure a better life not only for girls and young women, but for everyone in our world.

“I want the audience to care about these girls,” director Richard E. Robbins says on the site’s press release page. “About all girls—and I want them to care enough that they want to try and do something to help. Because they can help. It’s that simple.”
-Elizabeth Harrison