Real to Reel

Admin/ November 7, 2016/


“Women’s rights are absolutely central to a better situation for human rights generally. They are at the coal-face. And they are not secure. They are constantly under different kinds of threats and therefore we need a mobilised, aware women’s movement worldwide.”

Mary Robinson, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; now Chief Executive, Realizing Rights, The Ethical Globalization Initiative.

“Reproductive rights are basic in terms of empowering women with the autonomy of the body, and allow her to get the skills that are necessary for her to become economically active and have an income for the family – and therefore fight poverty in its own way.”

Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director, UN Population Fund, 2004.]

Reel to Real is a tve project conceived at the last, spirited meeting of 25 broadcasters and film makers in the Women Broadcasting for Change group who met in Paris in February 2002, and decided to join forces on the production of a new series of short films reflecting progress since the International Conference on Population and Development [ICPD] in Cairo in 1994. The result is a series of 22 wide-ranging, often hard hitting programmes exploring what has, and hasn’t, happened in different countries worldwide to deliver on the Cairo promises.

In September 2004, 179 government leaders attending the Cairo conference signed up to the ICPD Programme of Action designed to improve the lives of women worldwide. They pledged, inter alia, to introduce policies to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, improve health and education services, increase women’s participation in decision making and leadership roles, and eliminate all forms of violence against women.

The Right to Choose

Since then there has been much progress – but also set-backs, as many of the Reel to Real programmes make clear. Individual stories include the uphill battle young women in rural Pakistan still face if they want to complete secondary school and make a career outside their homes; the taboos still surrounding open discussion of sex by adolescents in Latvia, despite high rates of teenage pregnancies and STDs; the harsh reality of life for Kenyan widows who refuse to go along with customary ‘wife inheritance’ rituals governing property and land rights; and the struggle that formidable market women traders in Nigeria encounter to gain official acknowledgement of the economic contribution the make to Nigeria’s GDP.

Reel to Real was made possible with the help of: The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust and UNESCO.

Full information about each film with transcripts available on the Broadcasting for Change website.

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