Why We Started 'WOMAN'

On International Women's Day, we need to celebrate and support girls and women everywhere and keep fighting for equality on every level.

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Mar 8 2017, 6:04pm

A couple of years ago, feminist activist and writer Gloria Steinem, and activist Amy Richards, visited the VICE office in Brooklyn to discuss the critical (yet rarely discussed) issue that for the first time in documented history there are fewer women on earth than men.

It quickly became clear to VICE Founder and CEO Shane Smith and myself that we had to use the VICE platform to highlight this global issue.

Months later, we created WOMAN, an Emmy-nominated VICELAND series spearheaded by Steinem, investigating how violence against women drives global instability.

Unscripted, raw, and revelatory, WOMAN captures on-the-ground realities—from sexualized violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to femicides in El Salvador—through the lens of a team of all-female journalists, overseeing the show from development to production.


Gloria Steinem (center) with Ariel. Image via author

At the end of each episode, we partnered with an organization working to address the problems facing these women and girls—like Camfed, which helps to give girls an education in Zambia; or Protect Our Defenders, which assists women who experienced sexual assault in the US military.

Though these problems are far from being solved, WOMAN allows the viewer to be a witness to these women and amplify their voices at home and across the globe.

Today, as Steinem says, it's a majority belief that we as people should be equal, something that wasn't true even in the 1960s and 70s. On International Women's Day, we need to celebrate and support girls and women everywhere, and keep fighting for equality on every level.

What's so powerful to me is that WOMAN will be seen in countries and cities where women don't always have equal pay, access to reproductive health centers, education, or the same job opportunities as their male partners or counterparts.

The more people who can bear witness to these challenges and inequalities, the more it will change. Steinem's been fighting her whole life for women and girls. On International Women's Day, it's a reminder to keep that torch alive.

I will always be grateful to Gloria Steinem, for putting the V in Vice.

Follow Ariel Wengroff on Twitter.