Girl Rising: Film Screening and Community Discussion

On November 26, 2013 by Grad Forum
Event organizers from left to right: Marie Onakomaiya (GSC service chair), Kiah Sanders (GWISE co-chair), and Anna Prescott (GWISE co-chair and GSC academic chair)

Event organizers from left to right: Marie Onakomaiya (GSC service chair), Kiah Sanders (GWISE co-chair), and Anna Prescott (GWISE co-chair and GSC academic chair)

On November 17, the Dartmouth Centers Forum, the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE), and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) sponsored a screening of the film Girl Rising. The film tells the powerful stories of nine girls around the world and is narrated by actresses including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Selena Gomez. The screening was very successful with over 100 people from Dartmouth and the local community in attendance.

Girl Rising advocates for girls’ education and its message is that educating girls will help change the world for the better. The purpose of the film is to raise awareness of inequality in access to education and to raise funds for programs that help girls receive an education. The film describes how educating girls can help empower them and break generational poverty. Partners of the Girl Rising campaign include well-known non-profit organizations like Partners in Health, UNICEF, and Plan USA.

Marie Onakomaiya (GSC service chair), Anna Prescott (GWISE co-chair and GSC academic chair), and Kiah Sanders (GWISE co-chair) organized the screening and the discussion that followed. The organizers first heard of the film through a promotion on CNN. They discovered that you could host a screening to raise awareness and support within your community. The event was heavily advertised to Dartmouth students and the community through the Haven, Upper Valley News, town listservs, the Tucker Foundation, the Geisel School of Medicine, and the GSC.

Onakomaiya remarked that the film helps to not only raise awareness of the issues plaguing young girls throughout the world, but also shows that change is possible. She encouraged people in the audience to get involved by hosting their own screening or donating time and money to the cause. She urged people “not to minimize the importance of giving money. Every person can do his or her little bit to make someone’s life better. Small amounts add up and make big differences and change.”

Sanders and Prescott commented that in past years, GWISE has been focused on graduate professional development, and they hope to also concentrate efforts on outreach programs serving underprivileged girls and women. GWISE is in the planning stages of initiating an afterschool outreach program in Claremont to pair graduate women in science mentors with girls in lower income areas.

To view a trailer of the movie or to learn more about the movement and ways you can get involved, please visit the Girl Rising site.

by Amanda Balboni

photo by Amanda Balboni


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