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In a girl’s dream

March 8, 2013

By Abri Brickner

On March 7th, a clan of Linkage team members attended Girl Rising, a documentary film that uses the power of storytelling to deliver a simple, critical truth: Educate Girls and you will Change the World. The film is produced by 10X10 and Intel Corporation and is a global action campaign for girls’ education.

The film told the story of nine girls from around the world who share their stories of over-coming limitations that girls face in their countries including: arranged marriages, lack of education, rape, slavery, and extreme poverty.

It follows the story of Wadley, a young girl in Haiti whose persistence about attending school rose about after she was told she was no longer “allowed” to go. There was Ruksana, a poor “pavement-dweller,” facing extreme poverty. Her family fought to keep her in school. There was Amina, a girl in Afghanistan who was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 13 and must hide her identity under a burqa. There were other girls, 6 more in fact, that had similar stories of overcoming challenges.
What I enjoyed about the film was the power of watching girls throughout the world who had the courage to remove the identity that their culture placed on them, and have an opinion about their self worth. It was a bittersweet example that reminded me that change starts with knowing there is a better solution and having a voice.

By integrating the stories of these girls with harsh statistics about women’s oppression, the film weaved in and out of the spaces of cruelty and optimistic, but the over-arching message was “the glass is half full.” As I left the theatre, I had more questions than answers. As each of the girl’s stories ended triumphant, it made me wonder, where are the voices of the girls whose stories did not end positively? Where is the grit and depth that made my eyes tear up during the movie trailer? Why did this film feel like a shot that had been watered down so it was easier to swallow? I wanted less characters and more depth. I wanted less celebrity voice-overs (no offense Anne Hathaway) and to hear the voices of the girls, even if that meant reading annoying subtitles (a “first world problem”).

Nonetheless, there’s a sense of pride in knowing that Intel Corporation are taking a stand in teaching the masses about why half the world’s population is still not free and equal. I was proud of Luong Ung, one of the writers of the film who was a faculty member at Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute and a Frances Hesselbein Excellence in Leadership Award Winner.

“This is how it happens. One girl follows behind the other until together they move forward, toward something—a future.”

About Abri Brickner

Abri Brickner is the Director of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute and an Associate Consultant at Linkage. Throughout her diverse experiences as a practitioner, researcher, and facilitator, Abri’s focus has been on working with organizations across a number of industries to create innovative strategies that accelerate their high-potential female leaders.

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