The power of the media for Afghan women

Roberta Staley and the rest of the crew from Mightier Than The Sword want to say a huge thank you to all the wonderful contributors from around the world: Denmark, the US and UK, Norway, the Czech Republic and, of course, Canada who have helped with the initial push of our Indiegogo campaign. We’re humbled and grateful.
At the moment, we’re deep into into post-production with Mightier Than The Sword, but still need to raise money for editing, sound editing, subtitles, etc. As many of you know by now, this project looks at how Afghan women journalists and filmmakers are helping advance gender rights in Afghanistan, using the media as the battleground in the fight against an entrenched culture of silence and invisibility. This story will be told through the experiences of three remarkable women: Sahar Fetrat, a university student and documentary filmmaker, Shakila Ibrahimkhalil, an award-winning TV reporter who has covered domestic abuse, corruption and insurgent attacks, and Mozhdah Jamalzadah, a former TV host in Afghanistan who is an internationally acclaimed singer; several of her songs lament the injustices that Afghan women continue to suffer.
In addition to working on the documentary, Roberta recently became part of an organization called Sahar Speaks, which provides training, mentoring and publishing opportunities for Afghan female reporters. As a mentor, Roberta was paired with Sahar Fetrat, who, along with a handful of other emerging young female journalists, joined the Sahar Speaks program this past spring. Roberta has helped Sahar with crafting, framing and writing a story for the Huffington Post, which is creating a special landing page for all these stories. Sahar tackled the taboo of menstruation in Afghanistan, describing how it affects young girls’ relationships with their families — as well as their ability to attend school on a regular basis. Girls and teens often don’t know what is happening to their bodies when menstruation begins and, in poorer families, there often isn’t money for sanitary products. Sahar hopes that her news story generates support for an education program about menstruation that is taught in schools. At the very least, the publication of the story is a launching point to begin breaking the taboos surrounding this very natural physical function. Sahar’s efforts show the potential for Afghan media to take marginalized women’s voices and bring them into the public realm.

By telling the stories of these three remarkable journalists, Mightier Than The Sword will show how far Afghan women have come — but how far they still need to go. The documentary will also provide a glimpse into Afghanistan’s vibrant media sector, which has nurtured female producers, directors, reporters and editors, helping women’s voices be heard and paving the way towards a more democratic society.

Please go to our Indiegogo site and watch the short video. Many of you won’t be able to contribute financially — and that’s OK! Please Tweet, Facebook or email your friends about this campaign to help get the word out.

Thanks so much!!!

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