By Global Fund for Women Fundamental Project
A documentary film series from two-time Academy Award Winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Global Fund for Women.
Feminist movements have the power to disrupt the status quo and radically alter the course of history for women and girls—and ALL historically marginalized people and communities globally. But what does it really look like to be a feminist leader today?
In Fundamental you meet grassroots movements and community leaders who are standing up for our fundamental human rights. The series profiles a distinct set of remarkable grassroots leaders working on issues from ending child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan to pursuing LGBTQI+ liberation in Georgia. These incredible leaders are at the frontlines of fighting for gender justice, and mobilizing to write new futures for themselves, their societies, and the world. At a time of unprecedented political uprisings around the globe, Fundamental invites global audiences to engage directly with the dedicated and courageous leaders who are standing up for our fundamental human rights and writing new futures for themselves, their communities, and the world.
There are 5 films, each about 17 mins.
Rights not roses: Ending child, early and forced marriage in Pakistan
Ending child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan: How are community leaders addressing the root causes of the issue?
Child, early, and forced marriage is any marriage—either formal or informal—where at least one of the parties is below the age of 18 and has not expressed full, free, and informed consent. It is a human rights violation, and a harmful practice that disproportionately affects girls. Every year, 12 million girls are married before they turn 18—nearly one every two seconds. It happens in all parts of the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to the U.S.
In “Rights Not Roses,” we hear directly from Zarmina, a survivor of early marriage. We meet a network of community activists fighting to end the scourge of child, early, and forced marriage in Pakistan, where 21% of girls are married before the age of 18. These include Rukhshanda Naz, a human rights attorney and long-time women’s rights leader who is fighting in Pakistan’s courts to extricate girls like Zarmina from early and forced marriages, and whose passionate advocacy for ending child marriage is informed by her family’s own experiences.
Defenders of Justice: Fighting racism and patriarchy in Brazil
Can gender justice movements in Brazil fight against nationalism, racism, and patriarchy to save women’s lives?
Brazilian law permits abortion only in cases of rape and danger to the woman’s life. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are severely limited, and there are deep racial prejudices against Black Brazilians. Civil society is also under threat, and activists in Brazil remain on high alert after the murder of prominent Black Brazilian activist Marielle Franco in March 2018.
In “Defenders of Justice,” we meet Lucia Xavier, who is part of a movement of powerful women activists who are reframing reproductive rights as an issue of women’s rights and racial justice, as she and others work to address security threats against activists fighting for reproductive rights. We also meet Daniele Duarte, an Afro-Brazilian lesbian activist who participates in protests and marches against the rise of the extremist president Jair Bolsonaro. Lucia, Daniele, and others are part of a vibrant and intersectional feminist movement in Brazil, mobilizing what some are calling a “Feminist Spring” in Brazil as the Supreme Court considers decriminalizing abortion.
Girls at the heart of it: Comprehensive sexuality education in Kenya
How are young women leaders spreading knowledge and activism to take control of their own futures?
Nearly all studies show that comprehensive sexuality education decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy, HIV and other STIs, and sexual violence. Yet across Kenya and in many places around the world, community resistance and biases, political opposition, and lack of funding prevent young people from accessing their right to sexual and reproductive health information. The result is that more than 390,000 10-19 year olds become pregnant in Kenya annually, according to the most recent UNFPA data.
Today, young Kenyan women and girls are taking their futures into their own hands. In “Girls at the Heart of It,” audiences follow two young women from Akili Dada, a women-led grassroots organization focused on empowering girls and young women ages 13-22 to become leaders in Kenya, including through sexual and reproductive health advocacy. Through high school- and university-level programs, teenage girls and young women at Akili Dada are building skills to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health and rights in their communities, and challenging norms and perceptions to help their peers take better control of their bodies and their futures. Alongside their stories, audiences meet Purity Kagwiria, Akili Dada’s Executive Director, whose own personal experiences have led her to a lifelong commitment to support women and girls in her community.
Living out loud: LGBTQI+ rights in Georgia
How can a vulnerable but resilient movement overcome the powerful joint forces of church and state?
While officially a secular nation, church and state are far from separate in Georgia, where homophobia is common. The Christian Orthodox Church holds great power including among government officials, resulting in homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination throughout the country, hate crimes and murders, and state-ordered threats against LGBTQI+ individuals and activists.
At the same time, the feminist and LGBTQI+ movements in Georgia are growing stronger and more organized. In “Living Out Loud,” we meet Eka Aghdgomelashvili, a Georgian feminist activist and trailblazer who led successful efforts to pass anti-discrimination laws in this former Soviet state. We also meet a young artist, Eka Tkemeladze, and fellow community activists who are mobilizing in the tense days leading up to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) rally.
Rising Power: Building an Intersectional Justice Movement in the United States
How does a grassroots movement led by people of color confront oppression and patriarchy day by day?
In an increasingly polarized and racially segregated United States, white supremacy and patriarchy are thriving. Conservative and liberal leaders alike refuse to address the outsized impact of institutional and systemic violence on people of color, women, and queer and gender non-conforming people.
“Rising Power” brings us to Madison, Wisconsin, where we meet community organizers Kabzuag and M, co-directors of Freedom, Inc. What began as a sexual assault support group has grown into an organization at the forefront of battles over education reform, police brutality, land access and ownership, women’s safety and security, and mental health. Driven by their own intimate experiences of violence and poverty, M and Kabzuag have carved out a space for multiracial, multilingual, and multigenerational community members to disrupt a broken system, equipping Black, Hmong, and Khmer women, queer, and gender non-conforming folks with the tools they need to confront oppression in all facets of their lives and ultimately build a roadmap toward shared liberation.
UPDATE: On June 29, 2020, the Madison School Board voted to remove police from schools, a decision largely driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, including Freedom, Inc.’s advocacy.
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