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From London to Singapore, Sabrina and Priyanka have created Girlsplained™, a new women’s health community using film to explore and celebrate women’s health. Poppy Bullen from the International Communications Team at Restless Development caught up with the girls as part of our International Women’s Day series celebrating Restless Women.

Who are Girlsplained and where are you from?

Sabrina: Essentially Girlsplained™ are a group of brilliant women, from all over the world who have come together to build a space to discuss stigma free health for women through film and digital media. I’m originally from London but our team works across the UK, Singapore, Liberia, Canada and the States.

Sabrina and Priyanka – Cofounders of Girlsplained, at the Restless Development training in South Africa

How did you guys meet?

Priyanka: Most of the team met whilst studying for our masters at LSHTM (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and some of us met through Instagram. Sabs and myself instantly hit it off when we first met and share a love for the empowerment of girls and women, film and filmmaking.

So, what exactly is Girlsplained?

Sabrina: Girlsplained™ is an online community platform, exploring and discussing health issues which affect women all over the world, but specifically through film. You can follow us on Instagram @girlsplained. Our website will be up and running soon as well at www.girlsplained.org. Our website is slated to be a one-stop resource for all things associated with personal identity, sex and sexuality for young women everywhere.

Where did the idea behind Girlsplained come from? How did it all start?

Priyanka: Girlsplained™ first began as an idea to create a web series that would entertain and educate on sexual health issues for young black and brown girls in the UK. Sabs and myself used to speak on the dual identities (at home and outside of the home) many young girls of colour have had to have and how difficult that is to negotiate especially with regards to sexual health. When we learnt in school about how many women had no idea about their HIV risk or PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) even in the UK, we thought it would be interesting to use our public health knowledge to create something entertaining around sexual health in general.

When MTV Staying Alive Foundation believed in our vision too and funded us for our first project, we were on our way. Thanks to their support and the encouragement from our community partners on the ground, what was supposed to only be a web series has now evolved to become a platform for young women to engage with content pertaining to identity, sex and sexuality.

Why is it important to shine a spotlight on women’s health?

Priyanka: We strongly believe that healthy women make for healthy families. A woman’s sexual health is imperative to her wellbeing and we envision women defining themselves in their communities by taking control of their sexual health.

What is your first project with Girlsplained and why do you feel this is important?

Sabrina: Our first project is in partnership with MTV Staying Alive Foundation and we’re working on creating a three-part film which looks at the lives of young black and brown girls living in London, who are exploring their sexuality and learning all about the world of sexual health. In particular we’re focusing on STI/HIV risk and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) PrEP(pre-exposure prophylaxis) which not many young girls are aware of. We don’t want to give too much away, you’ll have to wait for our premiere due in the summer.

(Illustration credits: Prashanti Aswani @prashantiaswani)

What are your hopes for the future of Girlsplained?

Priyanka: They’re endless but we really want to be able to take this to other countries and create something which is fun, exciting but also helpful for girls and women. Every girl or woman who comes into contact with our brand and content should leave feeling more powerful and confident about themselves.

Who are the most influential women in your life?

Priyanka: Well, probably our mums…definitely Oprah and Michelle too.

How are you celebrating IWD?

Sabrina: We’re pretty lucky because most of our team happen to be in London this week, so we’ll be having a Girlsplained dinner to celebrate us – I think we’re going for Italian!


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