These Girls Are Missing

The Gender Gap in Africa's Schools

In many African countries, fewer than 20 percent of girls ever enter a schoolroom, and across the continent, only one woman in three learns to read.

It's not official policy. In fact, an international industry devoted to changing the status quo exists. Still, the deck is stacked against African girls. How can a schoolgirl be such a threat to traditional concepts of appropriate gender roles and control of fertility?

These Girls Are Missing offers small sets of stories, sharp glimpses into a few intimate relationships layered to mirror the complex reality: Nadouba and Bintu in their West African village, Taz and Patricia from the elite St. Mary's Secondary School in Malawi, Ethel and her mother torn between village and the modern world, a relaxed and riotous conversation among a group of Malinke elders.

Through these snapshots, the audience grows to understand how deep cultural attitudes, more than economics, undermine the future of Africa's women. More provocative than prescriptive, this film aims to inspire reflection, argument, and deeper understanding.


Silver Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival, 1997
African Studies Association, 1996


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