BBC World News will premiere a new four-part series, Her Story: The Female Revolution from 20th February, which will profile women from around the world who are defining the struggle for equality in the 21st century.
With access to some of the most powerful and influential women in the world, as well as women working at the grassroots level, BBC World News will explore how women are taking charge and leading in an often male-dominated world. The series was co-produced by J. Walter Thompson Entertainment Productions, alongside award-winning production company Films of Record.
Narrated by the BBC’s Mishal Husain, the series explores how women are forging new paths, defying expectations and redefining different spheres of life, from leadership to religion; work to marriage; motherhood and sex.
Women, overall, are still poorer and have fewer rights than men, but significant progress has been made this century. The number of female world leaders has doubled in the last 10 years. Girls now enrol at primary school at almost the same rate as boys, and in many countries, women outnumber men at university.
Each episode is told through the eyes of five or six women from across the world, including: the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde; the author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler; and Inna Shevchenko, founder of feminist activist group FEMEN.
Mary Wilkinson, Head of Content for BBC World News, said:
“Whether achieving success at the grassroots of society, the corridors of power or in industries where men still dominate, this series features women who are bringing about change and giving other women more control over their lives. This is a great opportunity for the BBC’s global audience to meet a range of women from every strata of society, who refuse to be limited by the traditional expectations of a women’s place in the world.”
Ep 1: LEADERSHIP
Saturday 20 February at 8.10pm AEDT
The first episode will explore the role of female leadership in the 21st century. The episode follows several high-profile female leaders, including Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström; the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė; President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet; Mayor of Soda in Rajasthan, Chhavi Rajawat; and Kurdish female fighters in the Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ). The episode will examine how the perception of leadership has changed, and how female leaders are redefining stereotypes associated with power and leadership.
Ep 2: THE PERSONAL STORY
Saturday 27 February at 8.10pm AEDT
The second episode will examine how women from the deserts of West Africa to the cities of China are redefining the place of marriage, childbirth and sex in their lives. The episode follows author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler; 19-year-old Balkissa Chaibou, who is fighting against child marriage in Niger; reproductive rights campaigner, Morena Herrera from El Salvador; Chinese sexologist and LGBT activist, Li Yinhe; and former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, who faced criticism because of her decision not to have children. The women in this episode expose the fault lines in what it means to be a woman and a mother around the world today.
Ep 3: RELIGION
Saturday 5 March at 8.10pm AEDT
The third episode follows the stories of women who are working to promote gender equality within their own religious faiths. The episode follows lawyer and Orthodox Jew, Riki Shapira, and Muslim journalist Asra Nomani, both campaigning for women’s religious rights and the right to pray alongside men; Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, an excommunicated Catholic bishop determined to lead within her own faith; Inna Shevchenko, founder of feminist activist group FEMEN; and the Buddhist monk, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, who is on a mission to build up bhikkhuni sangha (female monkhood) in Thailand, where it is illegal for women to be monks.
Ep 4: WOMEN AND WORK
Saturday 12 March at 8.10pm AEDT
The final episode of the series will focus on the lives of women that are breaking through in the most unexpected places, and the ongoing fight to be economically independent and equal. The episode will follow Iranian racing driver, Laleh Seddigh; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, who has balanced a high-powered career with family and motherhood; chemist and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, whose business model is geared up to provide women with more opportunities; Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female film director, who battled restrictive cultural codes to bring the stories of Saudi women to a wider global audience; and Joênia Wapixana, the first indigenous female lawyer in Brazil.