A dark-eyed, ten-year-old Indian pauses for a moment in playing with her friend to explain that she is soon to be married, but would rather stay at home and in school. Her friend announces that she will never get married; she wants to become a policeman. Another smiling child in Yemen wants to be a doctor to help people. She looks forward to wearing the hijab. Little girls with great family burdens, and others who have no families, all expect to become mothers themselves. They talk about their daily routines.

A confident child in Peru cooks, cleans, does laundry, and then washes, dresses and feeds her younger siblings, before putting on her crisp uniform and going off to school. Two shy girls from Africa describe the painful ritual of circumcision--and a "cutting" ceremony is observed from a modest distance. One talks about her separation from her mother and life as a slave.

Interspersed are scenes of the children playing. Commentary emphasizes how soon these little girls must become women and how much of the world's work and how little of its wealth belong to them.


A powerful documentary film that raises awareness of the social determinants of women's health in a memorable yet accessible way. Little girls ages 8 to 14 from around the world--Burkina Faso, Peru, India, Yemen, Haiti, and Thailand--are questioned by an off camera interviewer. They give disarmingly frank answers to a series of questions about their lives, their hopes, and what it means to be a girl.

As the intimate camera reveals, many live in poverty and bear crushing domestic responsibilities. Some are shy and fearful; others are vivacious and brave. But all are strong and young enough still to play and to dream. As the interspersed scenes show, it turns out that hopscotch is universal. And as the narrator observes in closing, little girls around the world toss their stone and aim for heaven.


Based on original in French, "Des marelles et des petites filles"

Primary Source

National Film Board of Canada [1-800-267-7710 (Canada) 1-800-542-2164 (USA)].