My first feature length documentary film, It’s a Girl, was released in September 2012 and is screening around the world.
In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.
Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members.
The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.
Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.
It’s a Girl has shown at over 700 screenings in over 20 countries around the world, including the British Parliament in London, the European Union in Brussels, at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and recently on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. It’s a Girl was screened multiple times as a part of International Women’s Day, and inspired the convening of the Vienna Symposium on Feticide. It has been available on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and many other digital distribution outlets.
In the first few short months that It’s a Girl hit the world stage, nearly half a million people joined the cause, with close to 1 million actions taken, ranging from signing petitions to donating to our partners working to combat gendercide in India and China on the front lines. The film has raised significant exposure and support for the ongoing work of action partners like Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and Invisible Girl Project.
It has been a valuable tool for reputable universities and respected NGO’s around the world to engage everyone from students to influencers and leaders in the battle to end gendercide.
It’s a Girl has been acclaimed worldwide in articles, reviews and on radio and TV, including The Independent, Emirates Women Magazine, The Current on CBC Canada, NPR, and The New Internationalist to name a few. It has been featured and recognized at leading Human Rights Film Festivals like Amnesty International’s Reel Awareness Film Festival and the “this human world” human rights film festival in Vienna. As a result of the film, I have been privileged to engage leaders and influencers on the issue of gendercide at two TEDx events.
It has inspired people like Omékongo Dibinga – a rapper, trilingual poet, CNN contributor, motivational speaker, TV Talk Show Host and the Director of UPstander International who, inspired by the It’s a Girl trailer, decided to lend his voice to the cause by writing and recording a hip-hop song. Omékongo captured so well the inner conflict so many of us experience when learning about gendercide, that we decided to produce a music video of his song. We are so excited to be the first to share with you the It’s a Girl music video!
People like Deesh Sekhon, a wife and mother from Abbotsford, BC who, after seeing the trailer, launched GirlKind Foundation, which is advocating and educating for change in cultural beliefs and taking a stand against Gendercide in India. Deesh and GirlKind Foundation have become champions for the cause, holding screenings of It’s a Girl throughout Canada.
People like former UN diplomat Michael Platzer and his team, who, after seeing It’s a Girl, organized a one-day symposium at the UN in Vienna on fighting femicide (gendercide), where ambassadors, social scientists, NGO representatives, statisticians, lawyers and feminist activists had the opportunity to speak about gendercide, explain its meaning and causes, and present examples of best practice in fighting gendercide. The symposium culminated with the release of the Vienna Declaration on Femicide, a document urging UN member states, UN organizations and civil society to join forces and take responsibility to put an end to gendercide. The declaration was signed by the participants of the symposium as well as by Austria, Slovenia, the Philippines and Norway and it was presented at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.