Guest contributor Laura Anderson is an editor at PATH.
They’re appealing, versatile—and long overdue for the spotlight. But PATH and our partners still needed a way to give powerful, pleasurable female condoms—an often-overlooked option for contraception and safer sex—a starring role in the minds, conversations, and (yes), bedrooms of women and men worldwide.
So earlier this year, we invited filmmakers and videographers around the world to submit their creative and compelling stories to our first international Female Condoms Are_______ film contest. The twelve finalists and four winners, announced this spring, have helped us raise awareness of female condoms and their importance in the lives of people around the world.
Now, you can help us continue to put female condoms in the spotlight. This Global Female Condom Day, September 16th, and throughout the month, we’re inviting viewers like you to harness the power of these short, engaging films (available to anyone with an Internet connection, almost anywhere in the world) by hosting a screening of your own.
Each year, Global Female Condom Day is an opportunity for advocates and users to bring renewed attention to this important ally. Watching—and sharing—the films is a fun, easy way to get involved. When you do, you’ll be joining an audience that includes people at events in China, the Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States, and in homes and communities worldwide.
Curious? We’ve put together some tools to help. Download the Female Condoms Are_____ film screening toolkit for simple talking points, organizing tips, and easy links to all of the films (basically, everything except the snacks!).
Watch the 4 winning films (or all 12 amazing finalists), and what you see might surprise you. Recognizing that it’s not always easy to talk about contraception, they offer honest, unfiltered—and sometimes very funny—insights into sex, relationships, and the personal and cultural factors that affect people’s choices.
“I believe in the incredible power of film to cultivate conversation about the great issues of our time,” says independent producer Jaime Jacobsen. Jacobsen directed Pathfinder International’s first-place winner, Female Condoms Are My Power, My Protection, My Pleasure! (embedded below), which features two young activists in Mozambique who are helping both women and men change their lives with the female condom. In addition to raising awareness, says Jacobsen, “I hope our film will start a dialogue about the important role men and boys play in empowering the women and girls in their lives.”
“We were inspired by the contest’s interesting approach to sharing information and increasing the use of the female condom,” adds Rita Badiani, Pathfinder Mozambique country representative. “[After watching the film] we hope that people who have not used the female condom are motivated to try it themselves—and to become advocates in their communities.”
Global Female Condom Day provides a perfect window. Even (or especially!) if female condoms aren’t available where you live, now is a great time to watch the films and share them with your friends and community. Whether you’re a dedicated activist or new to the concept, it’s an uncensored opportunity to learn more, form your own ideas, and join a global conversation on increasing access to this pleasurable, effective option.