Empowerment through education:

10×10 Film Production’s Girl Rising was brought to King of Prussia Mall on March 17th through the diligent work of Eastern student and 10×10 ambassador, Maame Yankah. Yankah then worked with Eastern University to host a free screening on April 3rd, as well as a discussion panel on the film’s topic: women’s education in the developing world.
The film Girl Rising, directed by Richard E. Robbins, shows the power of educating girls in developing nations through the stories of nine young women. Produced by the organization 10×10, which works to empower women through education, Girl Rising speaks of the challenges and triumphs of girls’ education in Haiti, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. Each girl represented in this film was paired with an author from her own nation and most of these girls played themselves on screen. Narrators included A-list actors such as Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. Many tragic stories were told, such as Amina who was forced to marry at age 11, or Yasmin, whose family could not afford to send her to school, which left her vulnerable to sexual assault.
Many girls have fought against this gender oppression, and have emerged ready to empower other girls, such as Suma from Bardiya, Nepal. Suma works to get other girls out of the bonded slavery that she once suffered, and to learn to become their own masters. Ruksana’s father moved his family from rural India to the city of Kolkata to be sure that his daughters would be educated. Even though Ruksana’s family struggles to keep a roof over their heads, the girls’ education is a priority. Girl Rising shows that despite difficult circumstances, many girls are creating a new path for the next generation of young women.
Following the screening of Girl Rising on April 3rd in McInnis Auditorium, a panel discussed the importance of education and women’s issues. The panel included David Bronkema (CCGPS Chair, Campolo College), Brenda Chadambura (Kids Public Speaking Coach), Paul Charles (Recruiter for the Templeton Honors College), Angeley Crawford (recent Eastern alum; Youth Development Practitioner), Jennifer Kane (Eastern alum; former president of SAGE) and Dr. Mike Mtika (Sociology professor). Moderated by English and Gender Studies Professor, Rebecca Gidjunis, the panel discussed the multi-faceted equality issues facing women represented in Girl Rising. Dr. Mtika believes that women’s equality requires change to begin in the families of communities: the “household approach,” where both men and women work together and communicate in order to create equality. Working together for equality was an important theme discussed on the panel, mimicking the film that stressed the importance of partnership in gender and education issues. On why education specifically is the key to empowering women, panelist Jennifer Kane says, “A major passion of mine [is that] girls and women would know that they [are] valued and that they deserve to have a voice. And education for women and girls is a way to have a voice.”
Those interested in joining the movement to help girls and women find their voice may contact Maame Yankah  at myankah@eastern.edu.  

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