“We all got born into this. We didn’t make this up,” Gloria Steinem said to a room of women and men (but mostly women) on Wednesday night, referring to sexism and sexual violence around the world.
The feminist activist was speaking with Vice co-founder Shane Smith after a screening of the upcoming mini docu-series “WOMAN.” The room was filled with stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Mariska Hargitay, along with press, fans and even a high school feminism class.
When asked why he helped create the docu-series Smith said, “It’s simple. I have two daughters,” later adding “I think there’s a lot of problems out there. And I think you need to figure out what side of history you want to be on.”
With a team of female journalists, the eight-episode series explores stories of womanhood around the world we often don’t hear about, from incarcerated mothers in the United States to female members of the guerrilla organization in Colombia. “WOMAN” will air weekly and premieres on May 10.
Watch the trailer for “WOMAN” below.
The series was produced in collaboration with Steinem and Vice’s TV channel Viceland. In the first episode, “WOMAN” takes viewers to the Democratic Republic of Congo to speak with women who have been raped as a tactic of war, and the activists who have devoted their lives to creating support systems for these women.
Although the Great War Of Africa (also known as the Second Congo War) officially ended in 2003, “WOMAN” shows the ways in which Congolese women still face brutal sexual assault and violence on a daily basis.
“Today in the DRC, mass rapes are no longer confined to war zones. They have become routine,” Steinem says in the episode. Over 1.8 million women in the DRC have been targets of violent sexual assault.
During the episode, viewers meet people like Mama Masika, a women’s activist who, after being gang-raped by militia soldiers, created a safe haven for survivors of sexual assault and rape. When women are raped in the DRC they are often shunned by their families and communities, leaving them with nowhere to go. Mama Masika’s village offers a place for women to create new lives and begin the healing process.
As Steinem says in the “WOMAN” trailer: “By confronting the problems once marginalized as women’s issues, we can tackle the greatest dangers of the 21st century.”
And that’s exactly what Viceland’s “WOMAN” is trying to do.