Sources for women in Asia
Makiko's New World. 57 minutes
(Available through Cornell's East Asia Outreach Office)
This film is based on Kazuko Smith's book entitled Makiko's Diary. Makiko Nakano lived in Japan during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), a time of rapid industrialization and cultural changes. Through her diary entries, one learns about the impact of these changes first hand. The narration of the film provides the historical context for understanding the diary excerpts. This film gives students a first hand look at what it was like to be a middle class woman in Japan during a particular time. Makiko talks about what it means to have children, managing the household, and family relations. Because the film moves slowly I recommend using it in short pieces with a particular focus. The teacher guide provides some good ideas for the high school classroom.
Bangladesh: Microcredit. World Neighbors and Family Planning: Oklahoma City, OK. 1994 (Available through Cornell's South Asia Outreach Office)
This 30 minute video focuses on Rokeya Begaum, a mother and wife in Bangladesh. She lives in poverty and fear of the annual monsoons destroying her home. With no collateral she is able to borrow money from the Grameen Bank to build a tin roof for her family. A women's group from her village joined the Grameen Bank in order to improve their lives. Loans are given to individuals but all participants of the women's group are responsible for seeing that the loan is paid in full. The repayment rate on loans is 98%. Women in the documentary discuss how their lives have been changed since they've had access to money. This would be excellent for a high school audience.
Nepal: The Power of Women's Groups. World Neighbors and Family Planning: Oklahoma City: OK. 1994 (Available through Cornell's South Asia Outreach Office)
This 30 minute video focuses on Madhesini Kanchi a Nepali women who cannot provide enough food for her family. It describes her daily life and the hardships of living in poverty. Madhesini joins a local women's group that has created a bank. Each woman contributes 25 rupees to join and 5 rupees every month. Her village group visits women from a nearby town where women have been involved in all kinds of public works improvements. This visits gives Madhesini the courage to borrow money from her village bank to purchase a pig for breeding. The sale of her pigs allowed her to feed her family. This would be excellent for a high school audience.
Sonneborn, Barbara. Regret to Inform. Medium Inc.: New York, NY. 2000
(Available at Cornell's Southeast Asia Outreach Office)
Twenty years after her husband was killed in the Vietnam War, American filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn returned to Vietnam to try to understand how her husband died. The documentary and Academy Award Nominee, Regret to Inform, tells the story of American and Vietnamese widows. She weaves together images of modern day Vietnam with archival footage from the war with interviews of women who lost their husbands. She includes African American women, Native American women, Caucasian women and Vietnamese women. The film gives voice to the Vietnamese and the human cost of the war. This 72-minute documentary would complement any unit on the U.S. - Vietnamese War for American history classes as well as Global History classes. Use the PBS web site for more information about the film and supplementary materials: http://www.pbs.org/pov/regret/program.html.