MENA (SAT-7/MNN) — Many celebrations yesterday on International Women’s Day (IWD) addressed tough social issues women face around the world. SAT-7 is keeping those conversations going with a new television series called, “Because I’m A Woman.”
In a recent post, Debbie Brink — the Executive Director of SAT-7’s Women for Middle East HOPE ministry — provides an in-depth look at SAT-7’s newest feature:
In my last letter, I told you about Because I’m A Woman, a new program on SAT-7 ARABIC. Although the series has been in production for a while, broadcasts of the episodes are just now beginning. Because I’m A Woman certainly delivers on the promise to take a balanced and brutally honest look at some of the most controversial and shocking issues that affect women in the Arab world. Eight episodes of the program were filmed in 2015, and four more are in preparation, covering a range of hard-hitting topics.
Each episode includes interviews with religious leaders of Islam and Christianity so that the perspectives of both faiths are represented. Testimonies of women whose experiences relate to the topic are also featured. It’s these “real-life” stories that bring an extra measure of validity and urgency to the program topics and capture the attention of viewers—men and women alike.
The first episode of Because I’m A Woman presents the distressing issue of honor killing. (We described this episode in our last newsletter.) A succeeding episode investigates another emotional and disturbing practice: female genital mutilation (FGM). It’s a subject that we have featured in this newsletter several times over the last two years and to which more world-wide attention is being drawn. It’s that important.
Because I’m A Woman introduces viewers to Waris Dirie, a Somali model, author, actress, and social activist (and, in my opinion, a real champion for women). In 1997, at the height of her modelling career, Waris spoke for the first time with Laura Ziv of Marie Claire magazine about the female genital mutilation she underwent at the age of three with her two sisters. That same year, Waris abandoned her modelling career to focus on her work against FGM. In 2002, she founded the Desert Flower Foundation in Vienna, Austria, an organization aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of FGM.
Also featured on the program is Sabah from Egypt (another champion), who recalls the day her parents forced her to undergo FGM, which she describes as an agonizingly painful experience that scarred her permanently. Now a married adult, Sabah strongly opposes FGM and has stood against her family and husband by refusing to let her daughter undergo the procedure.
In contrast, Nancy from Ethiopia, who underwent FGM without anesthesia as a child and described it as the worst experience of her life, made her daughters undergo the procedure as she considers it the “the right thing to do” in the eyes of society.
Commenting on the show’s news-style format, presenter Julie Nakouzi explains that topics are inspired by real-life stories, with people coming forward to describe the pain they suffered and how it affected their lives.
Julie says, “Rather than taking a hard-line stance, we encourage viewers to draw their own conclusions. SAT-7 cares about the dynamics of family life, and we cover these issues in a way that challenges public opinion and encourages people to take a stand.”