Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren is the voice of 10 short films, that shed light on different aspects of girls’ and women’s opportunities and challenges in a structurally unequal world.

The themes of the films cover a vast range of topics including health, family life, sexual rights, education, political participation, economic equality and more. The viewer is invited to a poetic session of enlightenment and reflection, reminding us of the great responsibility we share in freeing the world from gender-based oppression.

The scripts were narrated by Helen Mirren and written by author Trine Beckett and young feminist activist Emma Holten. The visuals have been contributed by various directors, from all over the world, through an innovative talent competition hosted on crowd-sourcing platforms. The contestants had to create visuals complementing the audio with Helen Mirren – that framed the competition.

We received approximately 150 submissions from all over the world. 10 winners were selected based on their creative merits; clear, powerful storytelling, unique expression and a high level of creativity.
Winners were selected from Armenia, US, Italy, The Philippines, Ukraine and Denmark.

One Bride, Seven Cows or a Box of Heroin

A film about early, forced marriage of girls...

The Benefits of a Toilet

A film about girls' and women's access to sanitation...

Every Year Every Hour Every Minute

A film about girls' and women's family planning...

It Started with a Duck

An animated film about how women adapt to climate change and build resilient communities narrated by Helen Mirren. The film is part of the public m...

What Ami did not know

An annimated film about maternal and newborn health narrated by Helen Mirren. The film is part of the public media project Why Women?...

Playing the Game

A film about women's political participation and leadership...

Facts of Life

A film about health services worldwide...

One Extra Year

A film about girls' access to education...

Striving for Utopias

A film about girls and women's sexual rights...

What If

A Film about girls' and women's economic empowerment...

Jury of the short film competition

Nick Fraser / Commissioning Editor of Storyville, BBC
Mette Hoffmann Meyer / Head of Documentaries and Co-Productions, DR
Vibeke Windeløv / CEO, Betty Nansens Theatre
Peter Stenbærk / Creative Director, Cosmic People
Mariza Matshaya / Producer

The Short films are produced by Mette Bjerregaard, The Why Foundation
Creative concept by the crowd-sourcing agency Cosmic People
All 10 films are supported by The Obel Family Foundation

Quotes from the jury

“It was very exciting to see so many different nationalities and cultures interpret and visualize topics concerning girls and women´s conditions worldwide. It was an emotional roller-coaster to watch all the submission and special film touched me deeply. I am impressed by the level of creativity. The Why Foundation has made an incredible innovative and interesting competition with one of the world’s best storytellers; Helen Mirren, and extremely talented directors participated in the competition.” 

Vibeke Windeløv,
CEO of the Betty Nansen Theatre

”These are wonderful films. I love the idea of ultra-thesp Helen Mirren telling me what women’s lives should be. And hats off to anyone who figured out the innovative strategy of asking people round the world to make these short films. Only in Denmark…’

Nick Fraser,
Commissioning Editor of Storyville