• ‘Girl Rising’ Encourages Empowering Women in Developing World Through Education

    by Winston Chua

    Continuing its centennial celebration in spectacular fashion, the Westridge Parent Association Tuesday night invited ‘Girl Rising’ senior producer Martha Adams to discuss her film with students, teachers and interested guests at the Pasadena campus’s Fran Norris Performing Arts Center.

    An attentive audience of about one hundred people received the opportunity to ask Adams about her film and journey. For those who missed Friday’s screening, selected ‘Girl Rising’ clips Tuesday were played for the audience’s viewing pleasure.

    “If you educate girls in the developing world, incredible things can happen,” Adams said at the beginning of the meeting. The producer later lauded the work of Hillary Clinton, a staunch champion of women’s education.

    Part of the discussion also centered around Suma, a young woman in the film who was separated from her family and forced to enter bonded labor when she was just 6. Tormented and abused for six years, her fortunes changed when she met a teacher who made sure she received both her education and her freedom.

    Today Suma makes sure all girls are educated. She dreams of becoming a health-care worker. She is one of nine young women featured in the film.

    Adams has a background in both economics and anthropology, spending time working in South America before finding her calling in making outstanding films. To help make ‘Rising’, she partnered with writers from all around the world to capture the lives of young women who would best illustrate empowerment through education.

    Adams was named in 2013 as one of the ‘125 Women in the World Making an Impact.’ Her shows, films, and photographs have been featured in over 188 countries on networks such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and VH1. She has also assisted in production with George Clooney on ‘Playground,’ a feature documentary focusing on the trafficking of children in the U.S.

    Rising is directed by Oscar nominated Richard Robbins and narrated by actresses such as Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz and actor Liam Neeson.

    To learn more and participate, please visit www.girlrising.com.

    Westridge guest speaker Rebecca Skloot visited the campus in early December and Lori Getz will discuss cyberbullying and the Internet world with students later in the year.

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