Vital Voices - India's Daughter

Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, and Film Director Leslee Udwin Join Film Premiere and Panel Discussion

NEW YORK, March 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, Vital Voices Global Partnership and Plan International hosted the U.S. premiere of India’s Daughter, a feature-length documentary from the award-winning director and producer Leslee Udwin and distributed by Women Make Movies. The film details the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang rape that shook the Indian subcontinent and sparked heated dialogue on violence against women and girls around the world which has continued to spark more controversy since the Indian government has now banned the film from airing in that country.

India’s Daughter reveals the shocking, ingrained cultural norms and viewpoints on women that persist globally. The film features detailed interviews with the perpetrators of the crime, uncovering attitudes symptomatic of a culture of impunity in which violence against women goes unchecked. Exposing an understanding these points of view is critical to addressing the issue of violence against women openly in society. “The rapists are not the disease – they are symptoms”, said Leslee Udwin, “Gender-inequality is the primary tumor and rape, trafficking, child marriage, female foeticide, honor killings and so on, are the metastases. If we wish to tackle this issue effectively, we must address these attitudes and the mindset they inform.”

For over 17 years, Vital Voices has partnered with both women and men who are working to end violence against women. These leaders work to help advance the full implementation of laws, increase public awareness around this issue, and contribute to the creation of a world where women are free from violence. Plan International has been campaigning for girls’ rights across the globe since 2007. Their grassroots work empowers girls to realize their rights and supports them to stand up against violence and discrimination.

India’s Daughter shows the horror of gender-based violence.  But it also shows it is possible to bring about change starting at the community level, with basic things like ensuring that the education young people receive — and by extension their families — includes building an understanding of and respect for gender equality,” says Tessie San Martin, President & CEO of Plan International USA and Alyse Nelson, President & CEO of Vital Voices. “The film also demonstrates the importance of investing in and working with women and men who are the frontlines of change; it is critical to support these leaders who advocate for change, ensure that perpetrators are held accountable and that survivors receive the needed services and justice they deserve.”

Meryl Streep opened the evening’s program, leading a traditional candle-lighting ceremony in honor of the 2012 gang rape victim Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, who died as a result of the attack. “This moving documentary is harrowing not only for its heartbreaking, unflinching look at a young woman’s life brutally ended, but for the intimate, clear eyed look at the young men who broke her, and their defenders,” said Streep, “It forces a look at the mindset that must be made to know it has no place in the civilized world.”

Freida Pinto closed the evening with a rallying call to action: “I’m calling on girls and women, boys and men everywhere to watch this incredible film and then take action: Where you see abuse – report it. Where you witness discrimination – speak out. Let’s make sure that Jyoti Singh’s ultimate legacy is a world free from violence against women and girls.”

About Plan International
Plan International is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world. We work in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote girls’ and boys’ rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Our vision is of a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity.

About Vital Voices
Vital Voices invests in women leaders who improve our world. For more than 17 years, we have partnered with women in over 140 countries to increase economic opportunity, improve political and public leadership, and to end violence against women. Our programs are built upon a foundational belief – that women are essential to progress in their communities. Our world cannot move forward without their full participation.


Anna Rotrosen
Vital Voices Global Partnership