The Ikea Foundation, connected to the eponymous family-controlled furniture empire, is to fund a documentary series aimed at drawing attention to discrimination and abuse against women.
The foundation will be funding A Path Appears, produced by the Half a Sky Movement – the second time it has donated to a documentary produced by the women’s rights organisation. It will donate €1.12 million to its development.
The first series, Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, raised millions of dollars for NGOs and resulted in 1,700 individuals signing up to the cause.
Both series are based on the 2009 best-selling book Half the Sky, by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who believe gender-based violence is the most important issue of our times.
The Ikea Foundation, which last year donated €101 million, is dedicated to helping children living in extreme poverty, and believes empowering women is one way to help children’s health, education and future opportunities.
Jonathan Spampinato, a spokesperson for the Ikea Foundation, said the decision to fund the documentary rather than give direct aid was in order to raise awareness of the issue of gender violence, and will bring about social pressure for change.
“Awareness raising can be effective when addressing problems that need support from policy makers, business leaders and activists. Lasting change requires, among other things, changes to behaviour, norms and policies,” he said.
“Helping people is harder than it looks, but the world now has solid evidence of what works, and some of the interventions are astonishingly cheap,” said Nick Kristof, co-founder of Half the Sky Movement.
Per Heggenes, CEO of the Ikea foundation, added: “We are funding Half the Sky Movement because we believe that empowering women is one of the best ways to ensure that children have better and more opportunities in life.”
The documentary will feature stories of women tackling discrimination and abuse in their communities, and will encourage viewers to do the same by joining an ambassador programme.
Half a Sky already has a number of high profile supporters including Hilary Clinton, Desmond Tutu, as well as celebrities such as Eva Mendes and Diane Lane.