Photojournalist Barbara Pyle takes you to El Salvador, Jordan and the United States for a look at three projects, which are making a positive impact on women’s lives in the areas of Peace, Equality and Development.

In El Salvador, farming is taking root against all odds, thanks to Marta Benavides. Marta Benavides heads up a program that is helping turn war-scorched land into fertile fields. Can simple farming techniques be the answer to resurrecting the land from the scorched earth policies of El Salvador’s civil war? Marta is convinced that they are…and sets out to prove it. Her training program works with representatives from rural communities and teaches them how to live off the land without destroying it. Marta works hand-in-hand with Guadalupe, an indigenous leader.

For centuries in the Middle East, women have walked in the shadows of men and are traditionally not allowed to leave their homes. But today they are stepping out of traditional roles and into new ones, thanks to Jordan’s Princess Basma Bint-Talal. While her brother, the late King Hussein, led the march for peace, the Princess is leading the march for women’s equality through the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development. The Fund helps women develop their ideas into sources of income and pride, teaching them how to start small businesses. It also has set up a network of community centers that offers them the chance to learn to read and write…skills, which transform their lives forever.

Husband and wife team George and Carolyn McKecuen are making their mark in a rural town in North Carolina. They are the masterminds behind Watermark, a member-owned craft cooperative that includes hundreds of artisans…98% of them are women. Watermark provides marketing and distribution services for local craft-makers, enabling them to sell their products around the country. “Development to me is developing the individual,” says Carolyn. Today, George and Carolyn are on a mission to replicate the success of Watermark all over the world. George believes “the sky is the limit!”

Produced for the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women (Beijing)

  • American Women in Radio and Television - Winner Public Affairs category
  • US International Film and Video Festival - Third Place - Certificate For Creative Excellence (Community Management, Urban Renewal, City Planning, Rural Development)
  • Women in Communication’s Clarion Award 1996