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The Work of DOROTHY FADIMAN

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WOMAN by WOMAN: New Hope for the Villages of India

 

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WOMAN by WOMAN and the short film ROOTS of VIOLENCE Toward Women both begin by documenting the poignant toll of centuries of poverty and disenfranchisement for women. click here for the hindi version

Dorothy's Making of

After completing a trilogy of films about women's rights in the United States, I turned my attention to issues of women’s rights around the world. I was invited to film the work of an organization (Janani) deeply committed to women's reproductive health in India. Their focus is on removing a stigma to birth control, and training couples to counsel women in villages where women often have no voice, and thus no means to prevent unwanted pregnancy. When I learned about their exceptional success in giving women control their own fertility, as to when they wish to bear a child, I focused on documenting stories about how this work is being carried out, and why it is successful.

Uses

• To document the growing movement in India for women to step forward and take more responsibility in their lives

• To raise awareness about the level of disenfranchisement for women living in countries in which birth control is virtually unavailable to most females

• To show the effectiveness of birth control education programs which can be organized and carried out with a small budget

Synopsis

WOMAN by WOMAN documents the story of progressive change for women in some of the least developed villages of India. Vivid images portray the humanity of the people, the beauty of the countryside, as well as the poignant toll of centuries old poverty. We meet courageous women who are coming out of seclusion in order to serve in their communities by teaching other women about family planning resources.

We meet family members who support these efforts - a village husband who works side-by-side with his wife in a culture which is traditionally male-dominated; a mother-in-law who encourages her daughter-in-law to work in the community rather than live in seclusion in her family compound, and a woman who counsels other village women about reproductive issues. She wants her own daughter to get a college education, rather than get married as a teenager. The film documents the work of one particular non-profit group in India, Janani, which works to improve the status of Indian village women and men by making family planning resources more readily available.

Credits

Director: Dorothy Fadiman
Producers: Kristin Atwell & Dorothy Fadiman
Field Producer/Cinematographer: Daniel Meyers
Associate Producer: Eve J. Eisenberg
Editors: Kristin Atwell & Mika Ferris
Music: Vocals/Arrangement - Beth Quist & Erika Luckett; Tabla - Tim Witter
Arrangement: Beth Quist & Erika Luckett

Transcription

Full script for WOMAN BY WOMAN pdf or Word doc

Awards

WINNER “Freddie” International Health & Medical Media Awards Women's Health

Reviews

“I was moved by the film because it presents the lives of people truthfully and without being sentimental or condescending, focuses on hope rather than despair. It uses true life to challenge stereotyped notions, [and] within those 28 minutes, it offers a life full of experiences.”
CHITRA BANERJEE DIVIKARUNI
Novelist, Co-founder of Maitri, an empowering association for South Asian women in the San Francisco Bay Area

“Woman by Woman” carries a powerful message for women in rural India-freedom to make choices about your reproductive rights is power and it can be the first step toward upliftment from a seemingly endless cycle of poverty, overwork, and continual childbearing. On a more subtle level, the film also portrays how change can be effected within a community, one woman by one woman... The scenes and stories in “Woman by Woman” are everyday scenes from rural India, but the women's struggles they depict are symbolic of the struggles endured by women anywhere in the world.
NITYA RMANAN
India Currents

“Over 1 billion people - one-sixth of the global population - live in India. Fadiman profiles a revolutionary social program in rural India. Seeking to control the country's dire population problem, a group called Janani (mother in Hindi) was formed in India five years ago, and is dedicated to providing family planning and counseling services to the country's rural women.”
ROBYN ISRAEL
Palo Alto Online

“Recent focus on the plight of women in Afghanistan makes this message of female self-empowerment in a male-dominated society a good choice for women's studies and cultural anthropology collections.”
VIDEO LIBRARIAN