Women and Girls Lead Global Partnership Launched

ITVS will lead implementation of project to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), today announced the launch of Women and Girls Lead Global, a public-private partnership between USAID, Ford Foundation, and ITVS, working in collaboration with CARE.

The partnership is a three-year, nine-country, 30-film media project to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide, creating a 10-episode documentary film series each year about women and girls rising above dire circumstances to seek better lives for themselves, their families, and communities.

Each year, television networks in nine countries will broadcast a 10-episode documentary film series to viewers. Local film, radio, and new media producers will create “call-to-action” content such as public service announcements, radio programming, and mobile content to localize the series and engage viewers. CARE and local NGOs will work with Women and Girls Lead Global to build media engagement campaigns to amplify and increase the impact of existing civil society efforts already underway in education, health, violence, economic empowerment, and leadership.

“What’s exciting about this project is its depth and scale,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, in a press release announcing the partnership. “Women and Girls Lead Global is a real opportunity to improve the lives of women and girls around the world by connecting the power of media to the individuals and organizations working on the ground for social change.”

“Freedom of expression and powerful storytelling are both cornerstones of Ford Foundation’s mission,” said Orlando Bagwell, director of the foundation’s JustFilms Initiative. “Women and Girls Lead Global will inspire change through captivating stories while offering media makers a unique way to promote gender equality and social justice on the front lines of the world’s most pressing issues.”

ITVS will lead the implementation of the project, building on its domestic work on gender equality through its U.S.-focused Women and Girls Lead project, which brings documentary films to American public television audiences alongside engagement campaigns active in 100 cities nationwide, social screenings, games, and other interactive engagement. “Independent filmmakers tell inspiring, compelling, and authentic stories packed with the power to change the world,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS.  “Now, we have an opportunity to directly connect that storytelling power to audiences in Kolkata, NGOs in Nairobi, and people everywhere striving to help women and girls realize their full potential.”

Women and Girls Lead Global will work closely with CARE to support their existing work and the work of other NGOS in five countries—Egypt, Kenya, India, Bangladesh, and Peru—with streamlined activities in Malawi, Jordan, Colombia and El Salvador.  ““We know what works to improve the lives of women and girls,” said Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. “With Women and Girls Lead Global, we have a chance to see how media can enhance our efforts and break new ground with ITVS, Ford and USAID in creating a model that will help those working for women and girls everywhere.”

For more information about Women and Girls Lead Global, visit itvs.org/women-and-girls-lead-global.