At her students’ insistence, UCSB professor Kum-Kum Bhavnani
got a camera and shot 74 hours of footage of women creating
positive change through grassroots projects in remote corners of
the world. The result is the hopeful
The Shape of Water,
which premiered to sold-out crowds at our February film fest and
has since gone from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. on the
film-fest circuit. Before its May screening in Turkey, we will get
a chance to see it for free at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center on
Wednesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. Visit the website at Here are five reasons to

(1) Oraiza, Taio, and Doña Antonia are rubber
tappers in the Brazilian Amazon who lead us through the processes
of carefully collecting latex from the rubber tree’s red bark,
discuss rubber’s role in forest preservation, and take us to
protests against agribusiness’s environmental degradation.

(2) Khady, Miriam, and other women in Senegal
let us eavesdrop on heated conversations surrounding the practice
of female circumcision. Through street theater, rap groups, and
using cutting knives to plant gardens, we see the process of women
initiating the change of cultural practices.

(3) Watch as the Women in Black, begun by
Israeli women, stand at a major Jerusalem traffic intersection to
protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They’ve since become

(4) India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association
joins more than 700,000 women in an effort for self-empowering
entrepreneurship through loans or micro-credit. Watch kite makers
at work and stroll through a bustling marketplace, all supported by

(5) In the foothills of the majestic Himalayas,
we visit Navdanya, a farm dedicated to bucking the trend of
agribusiness and chemical company-controlled seeds to visit a group
of women acting as seed-keepers to maintain independence for


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