This International Women’s Day, Girl Rising, the global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment, will debut the film Girl Rising: The Fifth Anniversary Edition. This special edition of the original film commemorates the stories of nine incredible girls whose lives have been affected by the absolute power of education—or lack thereof. Renowned actor and girls’ education advocate David Oyelowo narrates this Fifth Anniversary Edition, which also features voice performances by a host of renowned actresses including Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek and Kerry Washington. It also features revised statistics and video updates on the girls who audiences have come to love.
The March 8 premiere, which will take place at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, highlights the reach and impact Girl Rising has had around the world. Over the last five years, the organization has run media-driven campaigns and grassroots programming with on the ground partners in the United States, India, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Results of these interventions include adolescent girls re-enrolling in school, parents deciding against early marriage, girls better advocating for themselves, and teachers actively reducing gender bias in their classrooms.
“Organizations around the globe use Girl Rising’s content to deepen their impact and drive massive change for girls,” Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising, shared. “Updating our film has united key stakeholders and allowed us to create a more effective tool for all those on the frontlines of the fight for equal opportunity for girls.”
Honored at the event will be newly-named Girl Rising Ambassador actor David Oyelowo, the film’s new narrator. David Oyelowo is an acclaimed actor known for his roles in such films as “Selma,” “A United Kingdom,” “Queen of Katwe,” and the “Gringo.” Oyelowo is also a staunch advocate for girls’ education. In conjunction with the GEANCO Foundation, who donates critical supplies to schools in Nigeria, while providing life-changing scholarships to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality, Oyelowo created the David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship and plays an active role in selecting its recipients and raising money to ensure its continued success.
“If we are going to create a more just and equal world, men and boys must be part of the solution,” Oyelowo explains. "That’s why I stand with Girl Rising – to hopefully serve as an example and role model for other men. We must be vigilant in our support and continue to stand up and speak out until we see change happen."
Celebrated singer and artist Andra Day has also joined the Girl Rising Ambassador community and will be celebrated at the event. She is a longtime Girl Rising ally whose work was featured in the CNN Films special We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World.
“I have long believed in the power of storytelling; especially stories told on behalf of those who may otherwise go unheard,” Day shared days before her performance at the Academy Awards. “I stand with Girl Rising to amplify the voices of millions of girls around the world who deserve to have their stories told.”
Intel and Vulcan Productions will also be in attendance on March 8. As founding partners of Girl Rising, both organizations played a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for Girl Rising’s current efforts.
“Five years ago, Girl Rising demonstrated the importance and power of education to change the lives of girls and women,” said Carole Tomko, General Manager and Creative Director of Vulcan Productions. “By returning to their stories, we are reminded of what young women can accomplish when we ensure they have access to education. We can not only change the trajectory of their lives but can have significant impact on the world in many areas, from climate and wildlife conversation to arts and education. These women are models showing us the incredible work they’ve accomplished in the five years since Girl Rising debuted.”
“For 50 years, Intel has created technologies that improve and advance the way people live, work, and learn and for 30 years, the Intel Foundation has invested in programs and grants to improve education, opening up new opportunities for girls and women in communities around the world,” Rosalind Hudnell, President, Intel Foundation, said. “On the fifth anniversary of Girl Rising, we are proud of Intel’s collaboration and partnership with Girl Rising. Together we have made a notable difference in the lives of several young women and their families featured in the film and we have changed the dialogue around equal access and inclusion for young girls and women globally.”
This week also marks an opportunity to celebrate a new phase of partnerships for Girl Rising with Citi. Citi, a current supporter of Girl Rising’s US Educator Program, is proud to announce a new commitment as the first leadership sponsor for a new round of Girl Rising films and campaigns, to be released over the coming two years. “
To get girls into school, we must change how society values girls; we must change the way people think about girls,” explains Martha Adams, Chief Creative Officer for Girl Rising. “Our partners enable us to create and share stories that help end lingering stereotypes and inspire the world to recognize girls’ full potential.”