Documentaries about South Asian Women

These are documentaries about South Asian Women and their issues world wide.

***Viewers discretion is advised, if you are sensitive & get upset quickly, please don’t watch the following documentaries***

Daughters of gardeners 

Ciné Fête

Summary: “Thirty-six million women are missing in India. The economic burden of dowries and the ancestral preference for boys make the birth of a daughter a shameful event. Ultrasound tests and abortions, medical acts which were supposed to represent progress for women, are instead being used against them. DAUGHTERS OF GARDENERS is a deeply moving and profoundly human documentary; an investigation of States where aborting girls has become a very profitable industry. This one-hour film follows the journey of a young Canadian journalist, in her quest to understand and document this demographic crisis, as well as its disastrous consequences on the entire Indian society.”–Container.

You can also read this article: A Girl: The deadliest words in the world

Even in Pakistan it is happening

The forgotten woman

The forgotten woman

Mehta, Deepa

Summary: Covers the state of widows in India and presents their bitter, sad stories of the harsh reality of their existence. Widows of all ages are cast out from their families and communities, often forced to find shelter in temples, earning their keep by praying and chanting… or facing death on the streets, alone.

India’s missing girls
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Made in India

Made in India Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha.Summary: “[A] feature length documentary film about the human experiences behind the phenomen of “outsourcing” surrogate mothers to India. The film shows the journey of an American couple, an Indian surrogate and the reproductive outsourcing business that brings them together.”–Container.

Beneath the Veil

An anonymous woman, covered from head to toe in a blue burka, is dragged across a football pitch and shot in front of 30,000 spectators. This haunting image of Taliban justice was filmed secretly in Channel 4′s award-winning documentary Beneath the Veil broadcast in June 2001. The woman was Zarmina, 35-year-old mother of seven. In a new Dispatches film, Lifting the Veil, Carla Garapedian went to Afghanistan to discover her story and see whether women’s lives have improved since the fall of the Taliban.

After a secret trial, Zarmina was jailed with her six-month-old twins. They were confined to one room for three years. She confessed that her husband, Alozai, had discovered she had committed adultery saying: ‘He said, “Tomorrow I will go to the Taliban and they will stone you to death.” That night I was afraid. I hit him over the head with a mallet.’

Money could have saved Zarmina’s life. The final Supreme Court ruling stated that her life would have been spared if she paid 10,000 dirhams ($8,000 dollars) to her seven children for the loss of their father. But she had no money. Under Taliban law, Zarmina was judged by her own children. Children often participated in Taliban justice and witnessed executions. Alozai’s brother brought the couple’s children to court. Zarmina’s mother says: ‘They were always beating the children to say their mother had killed.”

Impact of substance abuse on women
Glut-The Untold Story of Punjab

Watch by clicking the link:
A Message of Hope -AWAKENING by Joel Weber

In the shadow of today’s global economy, over 2 billion people lack access to any form of credit. Although many see their poverty as inescapable, some of the world’s poor are awakening to other possibilities. Through education that challenges their oppression and with access to micro-loans, many are liberating themselves from generations of economic apartheid. “Awakening” is about the social and economic empowerment of severely marginalized women. Shops are being built, organic farms seeded, and families that once had limited opportunities now look to a sustainable economic future with hope.

In Bihar, India’s poorest state, Sister Mary Lobo has organizes village women into groups where they learn to save small sums and invest their capital as a group. A new ideology is spreading that far transcends the boundaries of rural women’s traditional roles. In Afghanistan, the nation’s first woman-led micro-finance institution believes the nation’s long-term success is dependent on women’s economic empowerment. The film reveals the hidden lives of Afghan women few Westerners have seen. Now free to run their own businesses, they talk openly about their lives under the Taliban and current initiatives for women’s rights.

As these women courageously band together to transcend their historically restricted roles, a new ethos is spreading. An emerging economic system with values like sharing, mutuality, collaboration, and closeness to nature emerges as a counter-text to globalization and points to a way that could eradicate severe poverty in our lifetime.


  • Santa Cruz International Film Festival – Winner Audience Award for Best Short Documentary
  • RealHeART Intrenational Film Festival, Toronto, Canada – Second Place for Best Short Documentary


As a filmmaking team we want to tell global stories that are underrepresented in the mass media. “Awakening” is the story of microentrepreneurs and how tiny loans can change lives, communities and the world. Microfinance has been called one of the most important economic events of the last 50 years and we are astonished by how many people have never heard of it. Our goal is to educate people about this global economic phenomenon by providing a unique view into the lives of women microentrepreneurs in Kabul, Afghanistan and Bihar, India. “Awakening” offers a rare glimpse into the lives of women who have suffered greatly in the face of geopolitical turmoil, caste struggles and globalization. “Awakening” offers a view of women in Kabul and Bihar that few westerners have ever seen.

Deep within the shadows of globalization, the world’s poor are increasingly becoming more connected with the developed world, but still remain excluded from economic sustainability and growth. Few people realize that small grassroots banks, known as microfinance institutions (MFI’s) are sprouting up throughout the developing world, offering the poor access to modest loans and banking services.

Our involvement in microfinance began 18 months ago in rural Bihar, India. We were in the area doing research on third world education when we were invited to visit a local microfinance group. None of our previous experiences prepared us for what we found in Bihar. An amazing transformation was taking place in the midst of one the poorest regions on earth. Over one thousand women had banded together to create, Nari Jagran Manch (Forum for Women’s Awakening) a microfinance cooperative dedicated to building a sustainable economic future. Small shops were being built, organic farms seeded and families that once had limited opportunities could now look to the future with hope. This past winter we revisited Bihar and a similar MFI, Parwaz in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In the fall of 2002 Parwaz began working to assist the amazing women of Afghanistan. Parwaz, a Dari word which means to “fly” or “rise up” is the first woman-led for Afghans by Afghans microfinance institution based in the capital of Kabul. Parwaz has established itself in the belief that women’s long-term success in society is dependent on self-reliance and economic empowerment. Is this unique form of banking the beginning of a new economic system, a system in which the poor band together to revive their lives and communities to become self-sufficient?

What we found was that Kabul is a vibrant, bustling city full of entrepreneurs, but also a city suffering from poverty and geopolitical turmoil. Bihar, the poorest state in India, is equally as vibrant, but also suffers from great poverty and caste struggles.

The women in “Awakening” taught us the value of work and community, and that perhaps we could all use a little less. Perhaps the goal isn’t to become as rich as possible, but to find a sustainable medium.

Joel Weber and Dominic Howes, Directors, “Awakening”

Child Slavery & Sex Slaves in the world

Oscar Award for a Pakistani woman

Saving Face

South Asian Film Festival

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