Voice of America’s new documentary, "A Single Step," premiered Thursday at the Asia Society in Manhattan.
The 30-minute film, narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field, profiles five female champions of change who live in China, Japan, Fiji, India and Liberia.
One of the women profiled, Katie Meyler, was part of a group named as Time magazine's Persons of the Year for educating vulnerable girls in Liberia during the Ebola crisis.
Meyler says in the film, “What's scarier than Ebola is what happened before Ebola and what will continue to happen after Ebola is out of the news. Unless you fix the infrastructure of the country, starting with basic education, nothing is going to change. You're just treating symptoms.”
Following the screening, members of a panel discussed how the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women had shaped their lives and empowered women around the world. The panelists were Aamina Awan, who leads the U.N. women’s global youth engagement strategy for the HerForShe Campaign; Josette Sheeran, president and CEO of the Asia Society; and Peggy Liu, chairperson of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy.
Through the panelists agreed that women’s rights have advanced since the 1995 Beijing conference, they also agreed that there are still significant gaps. Awan said that "by 2095, we’ll have gender equality at least in the economic distribution space. So I’ll be 120 by then.”
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, another of the women profiled in the film, saw it for the first time at the premiere. She said watching the film was “overwhelming” and left her feeling that she had been a “part of the women’s movement and not just the movement in Fiji, or the Pacific, but the global women’s movement.”
Many in the audience seemed to leave the premiere motivated to try to make a difference in the lives of others. Liu’s hope was that “other people watch this and be inspired.”
"A Single Step" can be viewed here on Voice of America’s website.