A feature-length film on gender equality produced by the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) premiered on February 3rd at a virtual screening before a gathering of UN officials, ambassadors of member states, non-governmental organizations, and other civil society actors.
Two Canadian Baha’is, Laura Friedmann and Kyle Schmalenberg, were involved in the production of the film. This process took them to several countries, including Colombia, India, Malaysia, the United States and Zambia, where the filmmakers considered insights into how gender equality has advanced in diverse societies over the past 25 years.
“The film examines advances in the area of equality of women and men at the level of the grassroots and their connection with the conversations that have been unfolding at the UN, drawing on examples inspired by Bahá’í community-building efforts in different countries around the world,” says Saphira Rameshfar, Representative of the BIC to the United Nations.
The BIC film marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that resulted from the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 and reflects on advances made toward the goals for gender equality articulated in the declaration. The full version can be viewed here.
A central theme of the film is the Bahá’í principle of equality between women and men. “The soul, the essence of what makes human beings human, is neither male nor female,” says Ms. Rameshfar. “The search for meaning, for purpose, for community and the capacity to love and to persevere are not dependent on gender. This is a principle with profound implications for the organization of every aspect of human society.”
Commenting on the film, Bani Dugal, the BIC’s Principal Representative to the United Nations, says, “Since the Beijing Declaration in 1995, much has been learned about the enabling conditions that foster gender equality.
“Whatever setbacks and obstacles may appear over the next 25 years, the awakening in humanity’s consciousness to the truth that women and men are equal will never be lost.”
The BIC has made available a specially dedicated web page featuring additional clips of interviews as a resource to stimulate thoughtful discussion on the themes highlighted in Glimpses into the Spirit of Gender Equality. Subtitled versions of the film will soon be available in Arabic, French, Mandarin, Persian, Russian, and Spanish.