Women and girls everywhere are becoming leaders in business, the arts, science, and politics — yet they lack equal opportunities worldwide. Women and Girls Lead responds to this gap with a public media campaign that uses documentary films to showcase extraordinary women and girls who are changing the world. In collaboration with NGOs, public television, and media partners, we seek to engage audiences and spark activities that promote leadership development, violence prevention, and economic empowerment. Download the Overview (PDF, 2.6M)

How It Works

Women and Girls Lead selects and supports powerful independent documentaries and other content on women and girl leaders.

Media empowers new voices. Independent documentary producers amplify the voices of women who are transforming their lives, communities, and the world.

Events attract attention. A stream of broadcasts on PBS, online and live screenings, publicity, public affairs events, and celebrity participation keep women’s and girls’ issues and efforts in the public forum.

Broad audiences strengthen the campaign. Short videos, games, standards-based curriculum, and other educational tools increase impact on the ground.

Partnerships expand network. Partners include independent filmmakers, public television stations, diverse organizations, and leaders committed to putting the power of media to work for women and girls around the world. Read more at Partners and Get Involved.


On issues that matter, women’s voices are missing. Only 25 percent of news subjects are women, and those who do get attention often conform to stereotypes as victims, passive bystanders, or sex symbols. Yet a wave of films is showcasing women and girls as leaders, and movements for gender equity are surging in country after country.

Women and Girls Lead brings to life these stories of extraordinary women and girls captured by the world’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Our campaign reflects the groundswell of stories about women emerging in the U.S. and abroad, and encompasses both new and archive films. It connects key stakeholders to discuss and participate in critical issues facing local communities, the nation, and the world.

Women and Girls Lead Global

Women and Girls Lead Global is a public-private partnership between USAID, the Ford Foundation, and ITVS, working in collaboration with CARE. The three-year, nine-country, 30-film media project promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide, creating a 10-episode documentary film series each year about women and girls rising above dire circumstances to seek better lives for themselves, their families, and communities.

ITVS leads the implementation of the project, building on its domestic work on gender equality through its U.S.-focused Women and Girls Lead project, which brings documentary films to American public television audiences alongside cross-platform engagement campaigns.

Women and Girls Lead is spearheaded by the Independent Television Service [ITVS] and its Global Perspectives Project. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. The Global Perspectives Project is funded by Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.