Girl Rising: Five Years Later the Film Continues to Empower Women

From India to the U.S. and beyond, it’s been nearly five years since our documentary Girl Rising debuted, igniting a global movement in support of girls’ education and equality. With millions of girls still not in school, what began as a feature film grew into a movement. Airing in over 170 countries, translated into more than 30 languages and viewed by over 200 million people, Girl Rising has inspired action that’s getting girls into classrooms worldwide.

This International Women’s Day, we caught up with the nine unforgettable girls featured in the 2013 film to see the incredible impact education has made in their lives.

Narrated by actor David Oyelowo and featuring voice performances by a host of renowned actresses, including Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek and Kerry Washington, Girl Rising: The Fifth Anniversary Edition aims to build on what was uncovered during the making of the initial film–that educating girls can break the cycle of poverty.

“Girl Rising demonstrated the importance and power of education to change the lives of girls and women,” said Carole Tomko, General Manager and Creative Director of Vulcan Productions. “By returning to their stories, we are reminded of what young women can accomplish when we ensure they have access to education.”

With a goal to use storytelling to change the way the world sees the girl, Paul Allen and his Vulcan Productions partnered with Academy Award nominated director Richard E. Robbins and Intel to unite men and women who know that educating girls is one of the smartest investments of our time. When girls are educated, communities thrive and economies grow.

“If we are going to create a more just and equal world, men and boys must be part of the solution,” Oyelowo explains. “That’s why I stand with Girl Rising. [Being a role model] is not a new concept, but something that must be repeated over and over until we see change happen.”

Girls face barriers that boys don’t: early marriage, sex trafficking, domestic slavery and gender-based violence. In the five years since it launched, Girl Rising and its global campaign has shown us many things, among them the power of education. An educated girl is more likely to stay healthy, save money, build a business and innovate community solution, ultimately changing the trajectory of a girl’s life.