Fri | Sep 21, 2018

'Girl Rising' draws attention to gender disparity

Published:Tuesday | March 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Maura Barry-Boyle (centre), acting deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, greets Kadeshia Hill (right), guidance counsellor at Ardenne High School, who came to view ‘Girls Rising’ along with some of her students. From left are Kadeen Grant, Aleesha Brown and Chadwick Spence.

"Girls are not the problem; they are problem solvers," declares a line from the powerful documentary 'Girl Rising', which spotlights the stories of nine girls who overcame their unforgiving circumstances by believing in their own potential and the power of education.

The near 130-minute film documents early marriage, gender disparity and regressive social mindsets, all common stumbling blocks that girls from poor backgrounds face around the world. The film tells the stories of nine girls from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other heartbreaking injustices.

The storyline follows nine girls from Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Egypt, Peru, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan on their journey to education.

Following yesterday's screening at the Carib 5 Cineplex in Cross Roads, acting deputy chief of mission at the United States (US) Embassy in Kingston, Maura Barry-Boyle told The Gleaner that the embassy chose to host the screening in recognition of the experience of marginalised girls and the progress made in countries like Jamaica and the US.

"We live in an inter-connected world, where revolutions can jump across borders and time-zones. I invite you all to look in your communities for opportunities to encourage education and opportunities for girls who struggle with poverty or lack of opportunity," Barry-Boyle told a select number of students from high schools across the Corporate Area.

Ardenne High School students, Kadeen Grant, Aleesha Brown and Chadwik Spence agree that the film provided eye opening experiences that they will take to fellow students and to their respective communities to drum up support for a keener stake in educating the nation's youth.

"When I watched the movie I was seeing that girls were finding their power, not from anyone but from within themselves and they were now the power and the driving force for all their successes by using their own voices and resources to overcome," said Grant.

Brown said that women across the world are still seen as vulnerable and unimportant, unnecessary and redundant; hence, the film captures every aspect as to why there is a need for education.

"What was interesting is that in the Jamaican context, it's the girls that are sent off to school but I never knew that worldwide, women are generally shunned from education. It's something we need to pay attention to even in Jamaica," said Spence.

Girl Rising is powered by strategic partner, Intel Corporation, and distribution partner CNN Films.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com