Spark Discussion and Action on Global Issues

Are you looking for programming on human trafficking, girls’ education, or other global feminist issues? AAUW’s collaboration with Women and Girls Lead offers you access to three dozen films — including Half the Sky, A Path Appears, and The Graduates — that you can use to organize an event or action in your community.

Below are a few steps that will help make your event a success!

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Step 1: Where to start?

Showing a movie is an excellent recruitment opportunity. People get to learn about what you do and how important AAUW’s work is while learning about an issue that is important to them. Plus, film events are easy to set up and can function as fundraisers for your branch!

But hosting a film screening is just the beginning of what you can do through AAUW and Women and Girls Lead. AAUW members have access to ready-made tool kits that include everything you need to successfully host a film event. These tool kits include flyers, invitations, sample questions, and prompts for discussion, as well as a DVD with clips from the films. Tool kits are currently available for three Women and Girls Lead films: Half the Sky, The Graduates, and A Path Appears.

Step 2: Choose a film.

You have several options when choosing films.

Films from Women and Girls Lead

A Path Appears

Watch video on YouTube.

Looking to engage your community on sex trafficking, breaking the cycle of poverty, access to education, or finding solutions to systemic violence against women? Check out A Path Appears, the follow-up to Half the Sky that follows reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as they travel the United States and the world to delve more deeply into the causes and solutions to these problems.Ashley Judd, Mia Farrow, Eva Longoria, and Jennifer Garner accompany Kristof and WuDunn on this journey to share the stories of individuals who have taken it upon themselves to create hope, change, and a new status quo around these issues. This film is an adaptation of their book.

Visit their website to request a tool kit and access resources, including discussion guides and lesson plans. These can all be used either in an intimate salon-style screening or a more public-facing community event! The tool kit includes six film modules on different topics, five discussion guides, six lesson plans, and one salon guide. All are available at no cost for AAUW members.

There are also dozens of other films you can view for free online. Set up a projector and you’re set!

Half the Sky

Watch video on YouTube.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is based on Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book of the same name. This documentary focuses on vital domestic and global issues, including domestic violence, economic empowerment, family planning/reproductive health, girls’ education, sex trafficking, and women and children’s health. Accompanying Kristof and WuDunn are actors America Ferrera, Meg Ryan, Olivia Wilde, Eva Mendes, and others.AAUW members are able to access the stories and screening guide online and can e-mail to request a free copy of the DVD tool kit to use at your next event. Consider incorporating a discussion of the book, which features the work of AAUW member Jane Roberts and AAUW International Fellow Tererai Trent.

The Graduates

Watch video on YouTube.

Focusing on the issue of education in the United States, this documentary follows six Latino and Latina students. Featured are academic stars, students battling homelessness, and young mothers who have dropped out of school. The film is split into two sections, the first focusing on girls, the second on boys. Screen one or both in your community.You can view the entire film online or request a DVD tool kit to use for an event. Engage your audience with a Youth Action Guide or lesson plans relating to “zero-tolerance” school discipline policies.

Other Films


Watch video on YouTube.

Dukhtar, written and directed by AAUW International Fellowship recipient Afia Nathaniel, is an incredibly moving film that has gained international attention and acclaim. Dukhtar, which means “daughter” in Urdu, is a heartrending story inspired by real events of a mother’s courageous journey to save her daughter from child marriage. Nathaniel draws on her experience of growing up in Pakistan to tell the story of daily struggles and sacrifices that women make.

Nathaniel told AAUW that it took 10 years for her to make this film. In that time she became a mother to a daughter, and the issue of child marriage became very important to her. Every year nearly 15 million girls are married, and she wanted to do something to raise awareness about the issue.

Nathaniel encourages AAUW members to request a screening in their communities and to take action on the issue of child marriage.

Dukhtar was Pakistan’s official submission for Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. The film made its international debut at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

He Named Me Malala

Watch video on YouTube.

He Named Me Malala is a documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner and education advocate Malala Yousafzai. The documentary tells the story of her life and the act of violence that made her the face of global girls’ education.

More than 60 million girls around the world are deprived of education, and the film can be used as a tool for branches to raise awareness about the issue and take action in their communities. Screenings will be available for AAUW members soon, but in the meantime the Malala Fund has developed a tool kit specifically for students and educators.

Step 3: Find a venue.

For free or cheap options, check out your local library or community center to accommodate larger audiences. Because a lot of the issues are emotionally overwhelming, these films also lend well to more intimate salon-style screenings.

Step 4: Plan your discussion prompts.

Whether you choose the DVD or online route, you should use the interactive tool kits that Women and Girls Lead provides: They include suggested discussion prompts, resources for further learning, and other materials.

Step 5: Order promotional materials and sell tickets.

If you choose one of the three DVD options for your film, you will be able to get free promotional materials, invitations, and more from Women and Girls Lead ahead of your event! These flyers and informational materials are great to spread out at your local library, college or university, community center, or local businesses — lots of opportunities to bring in new attendees!

If you’re charging admission, figure out how you’re going to set that up online or in person. AAUW events have had success using Eventbrite.

Step 6: Follow up.

Don’t lose those attendees when your event is over! Film screenings will bring in new faces, so take advantage of the opportunity and stay in touch for future events by having a sign-in sheet at the entrance of your event. Send out a follow-up e-mail detailing future film events or AAUW meetings that they may be interested in attending. Show attendees what they can do about the problems women face. Keep them engaged, and you’ll soon see how quickly they become new members.

What Is Women and Girls Lead All About?

Founded on the principle that women’s equity has not yet been reached worldwide, Women and Girls Lead reacts to the gap in opportunity with a media campaign that utilizes powerful documentary films to amplify the work that women and girls around the world are doing to ignite change. With more than three dozen films by prominent independent filmmakers, Women and Girls Lead is carving out an important space in media for stories that usually go unheard.

Women and Girls Lead collaborates with a broad range of partners in the media, nongovernmental organizations, and public television to really engage audiences with the content. Film clips, games, curricula, and discussion questions are just some of the tools provided to help strengthen the campaign and bring attention to the issues.

Ultimately the goal is to, through this public awareness and education, promote leadership development, violence prevention, and economic empowerment of women across the globe.

Have a question or want to share your successes with this PIAB? E-mail us at