Public Media Campaign on Women and Girls Leadership Hits PBS Airwaves this Fall

Pipeline of More Than 50 Documentaries Over Three Years Begins October 2011, Thousands of Local Events and High-Profile Gatherings Nationwide Planned Through 2012

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(San Francisco, CA) — The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced the rollout of major national PBS broadcasts for its Women and Girls Lead campaign today. This three-year public media initiative will educate, focus, and connect viewers with more than 50 acclaimed documentaries and with nationwide community and educational events through leading partner organizations including Girl Scouts of the USA, CARE, and others. Women and Girls Lead will launch its broadcasts on October 11, 2011, with Women, War & Peace on PBS. A five-part series executive produced by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Reticker, the documentary series examines how women have been disproportionately affected by modern conflict and their unique role in brokering peace. 

“Over the next nine months, we are launching the first wave of more than 50 documentaries that tell incredible stories of courage and leadership about women and girls from around the world,” said Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS President and CEO. “But beyond the national PBS broadcasts, Women and Girls Lead will take this content directly to communities through our groundbreaking engagement programs. Our goal is that these unforgettable films will spark not only conversation, but will also ignite meaningful change in the lives of women and girls everywhere.” 

Broadcasts in 2011 and 2012 will be accompanied by nearly 1,000 community screening events, in partnership with some of the world’s leading organizations supporting women and girls leadership development, health, education, and prosperity. Additionally, Women and Girls Lead will provide opportunities for direct action and deeper learning through its websites on and, and through social media including Facebook and Twitter

Women and Girls Lead is supported by an advisory board consisting of media, policy, and cultural luminaries including actors Geena Davis and America Ferrera, Queen Noor, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, PBS President Paula Kerger, Patricia S. Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who chairs the board, and many others. 

“I’m thrilled to lend my voice to the Women and Girls Lead campaign,” said Academy Award-winner Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “Women and girls are grossly misrepresented in our media. The powerful stories told by the documentary films included in this campaign amplify the voices of women and girls, and bring visibility and value to their lives. The events and activities we’ll be presenting in New York and Washington this week and next are a great opportunity to build momentum for this important work." 

The Broadcasts 
Women and Girls Lead programming begins in October with its first broadcast: Women, War & Peace, a five-part series from THIRTEEN/WNET. The series, featuring the U.S. broadcast premiere of the globally acclaimed documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, will reframe our understanding of modern warfare and place women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security. Women, War, & Peace will be broadcast on PBS on five consecutive Tuesday evenings: October 11, 18, and 25, and November 1 and 8, (check local listings). 

Other programs premiering from the Women and Girls Lead catalog: We Still Live Here — Âs Nutayuneân (November 2011) chronicles the resurrection of the native Wampanoag language of southeastern Massachusetts, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country. Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock (February 2012), tells the story of a woman’s life and the public support of nine black students who registered to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Unconventional, revolutionary, and egotistical, Daisy Bates reaped the rewards of instant fame, but paid dearly for it. Strong! (June 2012) features Cheryl Haworth, the 5’8" 300 pound champion American weightlifter. The film chronicles her journey and the challenges that this unusual elite athlete faces, exploring popular notions of power, strength, beauty, and health. For a complete list of the upcoming broadcasts visit:

Alongside the PBS broadcast premieres, a nationwide launch of more than 500 events between now and June 2012 will convene communities, families, organizations, and educators to discuss, connect, and focus on the challenges and opportunities that face women and girls. Select events include: 

September 15, 2011, Washington, D.C. CPB, ITVS, and Meridian International Center will partner on a dinner program to raise awareness among key stakeholders, thought leaders, and policy makers about the role of women around the world, with a particular emphasis on women as agents of change in conflict settings. The event will feature a panel with Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney, CPB president and CEO Patricia S. Harrison, and Donald Steinberg from USAID. 

September 20, 2011, New York. Mashable, 92Y, and the UN Foundation present the second annual Social Good Summit. Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney, PBS President Paula Kerger, and Asi Burak, co-president of Games for Change will bring the mission of Women and Girls Lead to participants. 

September 23, 2011, New York. First Global Symposium on Gender in Media hosted with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will feature remarks from CPB president Pat Harrison, a keynote speech from Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis and panels featuring global filmmakers and children’s television executives. 

October 13, 2011, Southern California. The SoCal Living Peace Series will present an overview of Women and Girls Lead and its premier broadcast of Women, War, and Peace to an expected audience of over 1,000 featuring Abigail Disney, Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, and the women’s studies faculty of UC Irvine. In addition to the broadcasts and high-profile events, a selection of the films will be screened in more than 100 cities nationwide as part of ITVS’s Community Cinema program. The screenings will launch in September with Women, War, and Peace and continue through May 2012. These local events will work to engage and involve a network of citizens and organizations in the leadership and development of women and girls. Many of the Women and Girls Lead programs will also be adapted into short-form film modules, complete with standards-based lesson plans. These modules will be made available for public television stations, educators, and community organizations to be used a variety of educational settings. 

Station Grants 
To drive local outreach activities and to bring the message of the Women and Girls Lead initiative to local communities, ITVS is making mini-grants available to public television stations across the country. More than 15 grants have been awarded to date, including station partners PBS SoCal (Los Angeles), WNPT in Nashville, KQED in San Francisco, WXXI in Rochester, and others.

Women and Girls Lead is a multiyear public media initiative to focus, educate, and connect citizens worldwide in support of the issues facing women and girls. Combining independent documentary film, television, new media, and global outreach partnerships, Women and Girls Lead amplifies the voices of women and girls acting as leaders, expands understanding of gender equity, and engages an international network of citizens and organizations to act locally and reach out globally. 

By building a pipeline of some 50 public television documentaries and integrating content from partners across radio, commercial television, and beyond, Women and Girls Lead offers another model for public media to serve its mission in the 21st century, connecting key stakeholders to sustain productive dialogue and participation on the most critical issues facing local communities, the nation, and the world. For more information please visit: 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar 415-356-8383, ext. 244

Posted on September 15, 2011