Why Women Count is a series of 41 x 5 minute short films made by broadcasters and producers in 41 countries focusing on the theme of empowerment - and what it means in the lives of ordinary women and men around the world. The aim of the series is to inspire, spread awareness and initiate conversation about the key role that women’s rights and gender equality play in the social, economic and political development of their countries, communities and families. The documentaries are produced by the Broadcasting for Change Network, a unique group of international broadcasters and producers founded by TVE in 1995, and committed to producing and airing programmes on women’s rights and equality worldwide.
For the 2007 series, each of the broadcasters/producers from various parts of the world in the Network have brought to us their own story on women’s empowerment - or lack of empowerment - in their own country or region. The result is a powerful series of 41 short films showing women struggling to overcome difficulties in many walks of life, all round the world. This collaborative effort provides all the Network members with access to a range of films on women’s rights they would never otherwise have produced or broadcast. This series provides the audience with an unique and thought-provoking opportunity to know about and understand the lives of women all over the world, and come to the realization that wherever and in which ever part of the world these women may be in, they experience the same kind of oppression and discrimination, and struggle to find their own solutions to deal with these.
The films from South Asia includs Mukhtiar Mai from Pakistan, Queens of Grassroots from India and Lily Counts, a film from Nepal, based on the life of Lily Thapa.
As a widow in her early thirties Lily Thapa experienced the brutality traditionally meted out to widows in Nepal. “The first people to treat me as an outcast were my own family,” she says. “There is so much injustice and oppression inflicted on a widow, that I decided to break my silence.” In 1994 Lily started Women for Human Rights (WHR), an association of widows. WHR today has branch offices in 36 of the 75 districts of Nepal. WHR campaigns against ingrained stigmatization and prejudice against Nepal’s widows, and provides education and training in income generation to help them live dignified lives.
Lily Thapa’s moving short film Born Again, contains testimonies by widows, who have been shunned by their families, and have been forced to live an isolated life by the society. Their pathos is exposed and their feelings lay bare, as it goes about analyzing the prevailing social situation. The one remarkable fact that becomes clear in the film is that the past one decade has seen a sea change in the way widows have begun breaking out the traditional role expected of them.