International women in film & arts gather at UN to stop violence against women

WNN Breaking

Canadian born Chinese woman filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung lets former Chinese Comfort Woman, Grandma Zhou in Shan Xi province, China August 7, 2010
Canadian born Chinese filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung lets former Chinese Comfort Woman, Grandma Zhou (Zhou Xi Xiang) hold the camera to take a picture of Hsiung in Grandma Zhou’s home in Shan Xi province, China on August 7, 2010. “In the morning I met Grandma Zhou. She hasn’t walked or left her room for more then 2 months,” said Tiffany describing her time with the ex-Comfort Woman as she gathered footage for her film “Within Every Woman.” Image: Golden Nugget Productions

(WNN) UN New York, New York, UNITED STATES: At the United Nations Headquarters in New York, for the UNCSW – UN Commission on the Status of Women conference on March 4, 2013, an important discussion that touches the very core of global society will take place. Since the 2013 new year the answers have not come easy. “But they will come,” promises international advocates who are working tirelessly to improve world conditions for women-on-the-ground.

Global news media outlet WNN – Women News Network, along with international partners WUNRN – Women’s UN Report Network, WIN – Women’s Intercultural Network and MADRE – Demanding Rights, Resources and Results for Women will be sharing a free panel event open to the public to show the incredible impact film and art is making in the quest to stop violence against women everywhere.

Women involved in today’s film industry from Dubai, Toronto and Washington, D.C. will be present at the event.

Looking at violence as a ‘normal’ part of today’s world society is causing global women and girls to face an uphill ‘human rights’ climb. Three women working inside the film industry, as well as women in the media, policy advocates, artists and poets are gathering at the United Nations to share their world perspectives. Their suggestions will be focusing on a key issue: how society can find ‘a way out’ of suffering, especially its women. To face the challenge under the global spectre of violence against women, some of the best filmmakers and artists in the industry are now working hard to stop the bleeding.

But are these efforts succeeding?

“One in three women in the world, or roughly one billion women, suffers some sort of violence at the hands of men in the course of her lifetime,” said NPR in a recent global radio show release on Valentine’s Day 2013.”Media influence through the use of arts and film is one of the most powerful tools we can use to bring change to society,” says panel host and organizer Lys Anzia, who is also a human rights journalist as well as founder and editor-at-large for WNN – Women News Network.

UAE woman film director Nayla Al Khaja seen as a 'Rising Star' with Digital Studio magazine, covering TV and film production in the Middle East.
First woman feature film director in the UAE, Nayla Al Khaja is seen as one of the “Rising Stars” on the cover of Digital Studio magazine in February 2011. Digital Studio magazine documents the best TV and film production throughout the Gulf States of the Middle East. Image: Nayla Al Khaja

“We must remember that the downfall, or uplifting, of society often falls on the shoulders of those who work closest inside today’s media. Women filmmakers have an edge on topics that rip close to the heart of global problems,” adds Anzia. “There’s so much news on women to talk about that needs honest transparent coverage.”

At the March UN event, Canadian born Chinese filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung will be talking about her groundbreaking documentary film “Within Every Woman.” Gathering over 56 thousand (USD) funds for her film production through a fantastic hard driven and creative Kickstarter film campaign, Hsiung will be bringing the final version of the documentary to the public to help build a better world.

Her soon-to-be-released documentary chronicles the lives, strength and courage of Japanese Army ex-Comfort Women who were kidnapped and forced as teenage girls to work in brothels managed by Japan’s military forces during World War II. This film is highly engaging as many of the ex-Comfort Women, fondly called “The Grandmothers” by Hsiung, are now racing against time to tell their personal stories.

First woman film director in the Emirates, award-winning Nayla al Khaja, is also coming to the United Nations with the cooperation of the UN Mission to the UAE. “The fact that there was no film industry to speak of in the UAE did not slow Nayla down,” says the New Arab Women Forum 2012.

Known for her cutting edge film shorts on such taboo topics like child abuse under pedophilia, or modern dating under traditional ‘Abu Dhabi-style’ formalities, Khaja’s film “Arabana” was picked up by a UNESCO educational campaign in 2007. Today her work on society and struggle between the sexes, in the UAE and throughout the Gulf States in Middle East region, open a doorway of honesty that has never been depicted before.

As a producer and director Khaja is hoping to help open the field of ‘film magic’ to other women filmmakers living in the United Arab Emirates.

Fim consultant and advisor for the documentary "It's a Girl" Reggie Littlejohn talks before the European Parliament about the ongoing problem of femicide on March 2011
Fim consultant and advisor on China for the documentary “It’s a Girl” Reggie Littlejohn talks before the European Parliament about the ongoing problem of infanticide and forced abortion worldwide on March 2011. Image: WRWF

Chronicling the undocumented slaughter of what the UN has cited as more than 200 million missing girls today, Director Evan Grae Davis’ film documentary “It’s a Girl” will be discussed by the film’s adviser on China, Attorney Reggie Littlejohn, who is Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

Briefing officials at the White House and the U.S. Department of State, as well as The Vatican, Littlejohn has been a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including CNN, C-SPAN and the BBC. As an attorney graduate of Yale Law School, she has has worked closely on cases with Chinese women refugees seeking political asylum in the U.S. Littlejohn has also led the international effort to free blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in the United States on May 19, 2012.

Highlighting the ongoing cases of forced sterilization and forced abortion occurring throughout China, Littlejohn asks the important question: “Why is this happening?”

Delving into the dark side, the documentary film “It’s a Girl” shows the insidious and often silent forms of violence against women and girls that continues to deeply impact our world.

“Worldwide, the statistics of crimes against the innocent are increasing,” says American visionary artist and poet Shiloh Sophia McCloud, who will be sharing her insight and humanitarian truth at the UN Commission on the Status of Women conference.

“On some grand scale, yes, we as a people, as a United Nation of beings, have allowed this to happen,” outlines McCloud.

Shiloh Sophia McCloud working at easel. Image: Jonathan Lewis
U.S. artist and poet Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s artwork aims to bring special healing, empowerment and transformation to women who have suffered under hardship. Her dedication in helping to build a better world for women in six global regions is strong and ongoing. Image: Jonathan Lewis

Focused cleanly on empowering women and girls to activism for a better world, with what her fans call ‘trans-formative wisdom’ as an “art doctor,” McCloud amazingly has gathered over 2 million dollars (USD) in global sales from her artwork over the past 12 years. She’s also collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker in a project to create Poets and Artists cards that were highlighted by the International Museum of Women in 2009.

“Though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as challenging as this one,” says Walker in her 2010 book, “Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems” with a forward and art illustrations by McCloud.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women conference began as a commitment by the United Nations with the signing of a UN Charter in San Francisco, U.S. as far back as 1945. Later the push for equality for women under the language for human rights was made with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as she worked to help launch The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Today the Commission has been asked by the UN General Assembly to monitor and review “the critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action and to develop its catalytic role in mainstreaming a gender perspective in United Nations activities.”

In the year 2000 the UNCSW brought over 5,000 delegates to the event, including 2,300 representatives of governments, and over 2,000 persons representing 1,036 non-governmental organizations.

Delegates coming to the United Nations in early March 2013, for the UN Commission on the Status of Women conference, will be joining what is expected to be over 4,000 women from diverse global regions. They, as well as the public, are invited to hear these and other speakers who will be part of the event sponsored by WNN – Women News Network. Attendees will be gathering at the United Nations Church Center chapel at 777 First Avenue at 44th Street in New York, on Monday March 4, 2013 at 4:30pm.

“We’re asking those wishing to attend the panel discussion to come a few minutes early to save a seat as seating is limited.” said WNN Founder and MC for the event, Lys Anzia. “I’m excited for myself and everyone else who will be sitting in that room together,” continued Anzia.


Upcoming United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference panelist Attorney Reggie Littlejohn exposes the brutal truth behind China’s One Child Policy, where legally enforced government policy in China has created extreme cases of suffering and violence for women who are faced with forced sterilizations and forced abortion. Global activists on both sides of the abortion issue who begin to know more about this issue recognize the often cruel enforcement of this policy as clear atrocity and human rights abuse. As an attorney who has worked closely with women who have suffered directly under this policy, Littlejohn has testified before U.S. Congress, addressed the European Parliament and briefed the White House. Today Littlejohn is Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers as she asks activists to join her to help in the global movement to stop this injustice.


For more information on this UN conference link to: The UN Commission on the Status of Women.

You can also connect and LINK HERE to the flyer for this special conference event.


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