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Girls Around the World
1999, 222 minutes, Color, VHS
Order No. W01728
Produced by Brenda Parkerson, GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD is a collection of six extraordinary documentaries that examine the hopes, dreams and worldviews of a diverse group of 17-year-old girls from across the globe. This multidimensional series provides a critical cross-cultural perspective into the lives of young women, the concerns they share and the difficult decisions they face as they transition into adulthood. A compelling snapshot of global girlhood, GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD introduces young American women to the social and economic reality that shapes, and sometimes limits, the goals of their counterparts in the world.

ANNA FROM BENIN (Monique Phoba, Benin) One of 31 children, Anna struggles to remain a normal teen and still fulfill her family’s high expectations, after she accepts a prestigious scholarship to study music in France.

DAUGHTERS OF WAR (Maria Barea, Peru) The effects of war, drugs and poverty on a generation of youth in Peru is seen through Gabriela, the leader of a girl gang and mother of a 7 month old daughter.

HEAVEN AND EARTH (Pascale Schmidt, Germany) Unlike other teens, Ramona chooses to follow a religious path and leave behind the freedoms enjoyed by youth her age in modern-day Munich.

FRONTIER (Kaija Jurikkala, Finland) On a small, isolated farm near the Russian border, Tarja is forced to make the painful decision to leave her childhood home in order to pursue greater opportunities.

DON'T ASK WHY (Sabiha Sumar, Pakistan) Anousheh, a spirited and independent-minded Pakistani teen, attempts to realize her dreams while confronting the expectations of her religion and culture.

NIGHT GIRL (Yingli Ma, China) *A striking picture of contemporary China, Night Girl presents the poignant story of Han Lin, a 17 year old prematurely made to enter into the workforce as a Go-Go dancer to help ease her family’s economic burdens.

*May be inappropriate for audiences under 17.


  • Sheffield Documentary Film Festival
  • Mumbai (Bombay) Documentary Film Festival
  • Munich Documentary Film Festival
  • International Public Television Conference (INPUT)

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    “I could see parts of my own story in these stories: girls looking endlessly at themselves in the mirror hoping to change what they see, losing themselves in loud music, and struggling to find themselves in a world which is so often harsh and controlling. 'Girls Around the World' lets me travel through the universal journey with girls--similar and different to me. "
    Sarah Eisenstein Stum
    Ithaca High School

    “Creates a crucial lens on the varieties of young women's lives--their fears and dreams, constraints and yearnings. Their stories of parental expectation, religious tradition, fantasy yet criticism of marriage, longing for home and safety, search for newness and excitement, are totally compelling and human.”
    Zillah Eisenstein
    Feminist Author and Professor of Political Theory

    "These filmed portraits of young women living their lives in Pakistan, Peru, Finland and Germany are often vivid, giving the viewer a rare opportunity to open a window into their cultures. They are each fascinating, sometimes deeply moving."
    Joy Pereths
    Curator, gURL.com's Movers, Shakers and Media Makers Film Festival

    “'Heaven and Earth' provides a rare look at one girls' spiritual search for a religious identity in the modern world. The video's simple and quiet style belies its complexity.”
    Mary Orear
    Camden Girls’ Film Festival

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    Girls Around the World is included in the following Special Collections.
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