Worth of a Girl

“Worth of a Girl” takes a look at child marriage around the globe, and explores how being a child bride affects girls economically, educationally and emotionally. In a yearlong project, Voice of America interviewed child brides from South and East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, including the United States. Their moving stories, told through their own experiences, vividly highlight life with the families they join and the ones they leave behind. #voaworthofagirl

  • Sharon Shahid
    War of Words
  • Steven Ferri
    Road Kill, This Space Between Us, Congo Story, Beyond the Unicorn
  • Sharon Shahid
  • Phil Dierking
  • Steven Ferri
    Congo Story, Beyond the Unicorn, StartUP Africa
  • Phil Dierking
    Healthy Living
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    27 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 27, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, United Republic of, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New York Festivals Television and Film Awards
    New York City
    United States
    April 21, 2020
    Silver Medal Winner: Best Coverage of Continuing News Story
  • The Webby Awards
    San Francisco
    United States
    April 28, 2020
    Webby Award Nominee in Video: Public Service & Activism
  • Moscow International Short Film Festival
    Russian Federation
    July 14, 2020
    Official Selection: Documentary Shorts
  • Clarion Award
    Washington, D.C.
    United States
    July 7, 2020
    Winner, Online Journalism - Special Feature
  • The Lift-Off Sessions
    United Kingdom
    August 16, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Veracruz Short Film Festival
    August 20, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Short Shot Fest
    Russian Federation
    August 23, 2020
  • Venice TV Awards
    September 28, 2020
    Official Nominee, Best Documentary
  • 2020 National Edward R. Murrow Awards
    New York, New York
    United States
    October 10, 2020
    Winner, Network Television, Excellence in Social Media
  • Anatolia International Film Festival
    October 23, 2020
    Winner, Best Editing
  • Anatolia International Film Festival
    October 23, 2020
    Finalist, Best Documentary Short Film
  • Anatolia International Film Festival
    October 23, 2020
    Finalist, Best Director
  • Golden Bridge İstanbul Short Film Festival
    October 23, 2020
    Winner, Best Short Documentary
  • International Social Shorts Antwerp
    December 5, 2020
    Official Selection
  • American Documentary And Animation Film Festival and Film Fund
    Palm Springs
    United States
    March 26, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Japan Web Fest
    February 20, 2021
    Official Selection
  • FINDECOIN – Independent International Short Film Festival
    Puerto la Cruz
    Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
    February 23, 2021
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • VOA+
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Steven Ferri

Steven Ferri is the Managing Editor in charge of digital and social media content development for the Voice of America Africa Division. He is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of programming for digital and social media for sub-Saharan Africa. Ferri has produced the documentaries 'Congo Story' and 'Beyond the Unicorn' and created the television series 'Red Carpet' and 'StartUp Africa' for VOA. Prior to VOA, Ferri held various roles within the AOL Time Warner family where he was responsible for strategic content development and media convergence projects at AOL, Warner Bros. Television, and Time Warner Cable. These projects included Telepictures In2TV, where he helped reimagine classic Warner Bros. Television shows for a new generation of Internet audiences; the AOL Sports franchise 'Time Out with Roy Firestone' featuring athletes, such as boxer Oscar de la Hoya and NFL quarterback Brett Favre; and Time Warner Cable where he worked on digital media integration. Previously, Ferri was a co-founder of the movie industry tech startup CineLink and Faultline Pictures, an independent film production company where he produced the feature films 'Road Kill' and 'This Space Between Us'. Early in his career, Ferri reported on distressed communities in the United States for NeighborWorks America. This included award-winning work about people living in at risk communities confronted with gang-related violence in Los Angeles and New York City. Ferri attended Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the Center for Creative Imaging where he studied digital media and communications.

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Director Statement

Purpose of the 'Worth of a Girl':
The purpose of the 'Worth of a Girl' documentary is to expose the connection across cultural, religious and national boundaries between the monetary value placed on young women, which is the root cause of child marriage and the denial of education that limits young women from living productive lives.

'Worth of a Girl' aims to provide a wide-ranging look at child marriage and its impact around the world. The documentary includes stories from child brides in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Turkey, and the United States.

In addition, 'Worth of a Girl' is unique in its use of social media to solicit views from a global audience about child marriage. One of the strengths of the documentary is the use of audience responses that were both for and against child marriage. These often contradictory responses are included in the documentary.

Description of the 'Worth of a Girl':
'Worth of A Girl' is a documentary about child marriage around the world. It explores how being a child bride affects girls economically, educationally and emotionally. In a yearlong project, Voice of America interviewed child brides from South and East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, including the United States. Their moving stories, told through their own words and experiences, vividly highlight their lives.

VOA reporters around the world focused on the worth of a girl to reveal how a young bride is valued by two families: the one she leaves behind and the one she joins. And what is the cost to the girl herself of marrying before age 18? To solicit global views during our reporting, VOA news teams—representing 12 languages—posted short videos of girls and women describing their experiences as brides and young mothers. These social media videos received millions of views and thousands of comments, from strings of emojis to provocative arguments for and against child marriage.

Impact of of the 'Worth of a Girl':
'Worth of a Girl' is part of a larger effort to report about child marriage, which has helped to impact the conversation about raising the minimum age of marriage in several countries, most notably in Indonesia and the state of Missouri in the United States.

The 'Worth of a Girl' documentary on child marriage has its beginning in March 2018, when VOA reporter Eva Mazrieva produced a three-part web and radio series that put a spotlight on the issue of child marriage in Indonesia.

The series gave voice to the victims who proclaimed that what they need is a “diploma, not a marriage certificate.” The reports also looked at the impact of child marriage to next generation with the increase of stunting among newborns in the country. Finally, the series dissected the antiquated 1974 Marriage Law allowing girls as young as 16 to enter marriage and the complications around advocacy for updating the law.

Because of this reporting, Ms. Mazrieva was asked to speak in a hearing about the marriage law by the Indonesian parliament’s Women’s Caucus. Efforts to campaign for the change by women’s activists continued and in September 2019, the marriage law was revised to change the legal marriage age to 19 for both boys and girls.

The reporting grew into a VOA-wide multimedia, multinational and multi-language project called 'The Worth of A Girl,' which in 2020 received a Silver Medal from the New York Film Festival and a nomination for the prestigious Webby Award.