Millennium Children, BBC1 - TV review: The equal treatment of women still has some way to go

At times this felt like an educational resource from a secondary school geography lesson

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The Independent Culture

Girl power was decidedly lacking from Millennium Children, which compared the progress of the Millennium Development Goals set out by the UN in 2000 with the realities of child poverty, maternal deaths and literacy rates across the world today.

The documentary was keen to show how hard life still is for millions of children living in poverty in developing countries – and indeed developed countries, demonstrated by the quest of one of its subjects, Noemi, to find water everyday for her family in California.

Narrated by a child, Millennium Children at times felt like an educational resource from a secondary school geography lesson. The stories of children across the world were told with great empathy, but we rarely learnt something new from them. The documentary was most revealing when explaining how far the world has come in achieving the targets set out in 2000.

Of the seven goals agreed to by world leaders, six have made huge strides already. The number of deaths of children under five has almost been halved in 15 years, as has the percentage of maternal deaths.

But the equal treatment of women still has some way to go. The only goal yet to make any progress is the world's record on female literacy rates, with women still accounting for two-thirds of people who can't read or write.

Cambodian girl Sor Nin's sadness at seeing her younger brothers educated instead of her showed how far off gender equality really is.

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