Fearless: Stories from Asian Women


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2003, 4 x 26 Minutes

Fearless - Stories From Asian Women examines the experiences of four women fighting for social justice. Each has her own fascinating story to tell, but all are united by their determination to stand up for what they believe.
They are fighting for recognition of human rights in their countries - the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and Australia - and across the globe. The forces they are up against are imposing - religious fundamentalism, institutionalised discrimination, authoritarian control and economic exploitation - yet these courageous and committed women are prepared to risk everything. Above all, they refuse to be silent and accepting. They are passionate about the basic human right to speak one’s mind without fear of repercussions and have willingly shouldered enormous responsibilities to give voice to those people who have none.
This compelling series examines the issues that incite them to action, their personal motivations and their hopes for the future.

Explosive Devices Growing up, Doris Nuval had a privileged life in the Philippines. Her father was friend and adviser to the president, Ferdinand Marcos. But when Doris eventually discovered that the government was deeply corrupt, she became passionately involved in the political underground. At the age of 28, she planted a bomb designed to bring world attention to the dictatorship. In this program, Doris reflects on her double-life as tourism official and terrorist and describes her transformation from public enemy number one to public broadcaster. Her motivation, however, remains the same: an unyielding commitment to justice and equity for the Philippine people, no matter who is in power.

Price of Freedom, The In 1994 a young poet from rural Bangladesh plunged the country into a wave of general strikes and mass protest. Her crime: to write her thoughts about how religious fundamentalism has consigned women to a secondary role in modern society. For her outspokenness, the nation’s religious leaders issued a fatwa against her, literally putting a price on her head. This is the story of Taslima Nasrin, now living in exile in Sweden, and how she continues to rail against the forces of oppression despite attempts to silence her.

Breaking the Caste Fathima Burnad is fighting to change a social structure that’s existed for 3000 years. In India, where the caste system has created apartheid-like discrimination, child labour is common and women have few rights. Worst off are the 160 million people in the landless, lowest caste - the Dalits or “untouchables” - who live without access to basic necessities and are often targets of violence. Fathima’s aim is to empower these people - her people - by encouraging them to take action through grass-roots organisations and rallying the support of international communities behind her cause.

Heart on the Sleeve Although Australia has a first-world economy, hidden within it a third-world industry thrives. Outworkers sewing at home are paid per piece by clothing companies. They work to unforgiving deadlines, often seven days a week, for a pitiful few dollars per hour. Hundreds of thousands of workers from non-English speaking backgrounds suffer in these archaic conditions. They have no sick pay, leave, superannuation or insurance. Now, Hien Tran, former Vietnamese refugee turned union representative, is speaking up for her fellow outworkers, trapped by their circumstances and financial need.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Mask Productions. Produced and developed with the assistance of ScreenWest and the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia. Produced in association with SBS Independent. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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Directors: Peter Du Cane, Mathew Kelley

Featured People: Doris Nuval, Taslima Nasrin, Fathima Burnad, Hien Tran

Year: 2003

Total Running Time: 104 Minutes (4 x 26 Mins)

Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Adult themes, low level coarse language.

Curriculum Links: HSIE Geography; History; Legal Studies; Modern History; SOSE; Studies of Religion; PDHPE; Politics; Justice Studies; International Law; Women’s Studies; Peace Studies. Episode 4 is particularly relevant for Work and Business Studies (employment relations)


Australian Biography: Zelda D’Aprano

Australian Biography: Freda Brown

Bitter Rice


SKU 200100300
Brand Film Australia

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