The Hidden World of Girls is an NPR multimedia series exploring the secret life of girls around the world. Girls and the women they become.  Stories of coming of age, rites of passage, secret identities — of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide.


pastedGraphic The Bernardi Sisters
Claudia and Patricia Bernardi grew up in Buenos Aires playing in their parents’ lush garden, digging in the earth, caring the ants—making tiny clothes for them to take far down into their tunnels and chambers. The sisters’ story carries them through Argentina’s “Dirty War” and its grim aftermath, into regions of mass killings and exhumations of graves in El Salvador—Patricia as a member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, and Claudia as an artist, both working for human rights for victims of war and violence around the world.
frida-iphone Frida Kahlo Overheard
The Hidden World of Girls listens in to two teenage girls contemplating Freida Kahlo’s art and love life. The girls were practicing their miking techniques in one of our Kitchen Sisters workshops, when Monica Guerra pulled out her iPod touch to show Zoe Solnave some of her favorite paintings. A seldom heard girls-eye-view on art history and life.
images-7 The Hidden World of Kate McGarrigle
In January, 2010, Canadian musician Kate McGarrigle, one half of the extraordinary “Kate and Anna McGarrigle” duo, and mother of singer/songwriters Rufus and Martha Wainwright, died of a rare type of cancer. In 2010 the Southbanke Centre in London held a concert in celebration of her life. The Kitchen Sisters were a fly on the wall backstage at the rehearsals, interviewing Anna McGarrigle, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and others about Kate’s remarkable music and life.
Unknown-1 The Hidden World of Shadi Ghadirian
Photographer Shadi Ghadirian was born in 1974 in Tehran, where she lives and works today. Ghadirian studied photography at Azad University, where she encountered some of the earliest works in the history of Iranian photography. These archival images sparked her own work, a series of photographs that capture the private worlds of Iranian women today, caught between eras, between tradition and modernity.
patti_robert_bed_chelsea-622 Just Girls: Patti Smith & Judy Linn
Judy Linn and Patti Smith met through their boyfriends, Peter Barnosky and Robert Mapplethorp in the summer of 1968. The two became friends spending their afternoons drawing together. Then Judy began photographing Patti. A candid, personal look at the friendship between two emerging artists captured in photographs and a long-forgotten home recorded cassette tape.
VivianMaier_Book_Cover The Hidden World of Vivian Maier
In 2007, John Maloof, a real estate salesman in Chicago bought a box of negatives at a furniture auction. The purchase led to the discovery of over 100,000 negatives and hundreds of rolls of undeveloped film taken by an unknown, reclusive street photographer named Vivian Maier.
booboo Hey, Boo Boo
Seventeen years ago, a girl named BooBoo was a hard-core member of the Playboys gang in Los Angeles. She drifted in and out of juvenile probation. Now, Cindy Martinez is a mother of five who has lasered off her tattoos and teaches her kids not to make her same mistakes.
Mandy02 Mandy Lu: My Two Worlds
The daughter of migrant workers from northeastern China, Mandy Lu goes to college in North Carolina. She says whenever she crosses the border between her two worlds, she feels like she’s in a daze and she has to find an identity for herself in a place that’s so familiar — yet not familiar at all.
Russia’s Singing Babushkas
June 27, 2011 on Morning Edition
A group of babushkas, or elderly women, who live in Buranovo, Russia, have become a musical sensation. They sing Beatles tunes and songs by iconic Russian rocker Viktor Tsoi. They fly around the country for concerts. And it all started because they turned to music during tough times.
Amira In America: The Hidden World of a Yemeni Girl
June 8, 2011 on All Things Considered
Earlier this year, Amira Al-Sharif came to New York City to document the lives of young American women. The 28-year-old was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Yemen and was the first person from her family to graduate from university. And while Western journalists often document Arab women, Al-Sharif wanted to flip the script.
The Sisters of General Vang Pao
May 27, 2011 on Morning Edition
Gen. Vang Pao, an exiled leader from the Hmong hill tribe in communist Laos, was a CIA ally during the Vietnam War. Now, shortly after his death and six-day funeral in California, NPR’s Doualy Xaykaothao — Vang Pao’s grandniece — is delving into her family history. Who was Vang Pao, and what stories can his surviving sisters share?
The Secret Life of the Termite Queen
May 6, 2011 on All Things Considered
The termite queen may be the mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her swarms of children. Isolated in an earthen capsule, she lays more than a quarter-billion eggs in her lifetime. On the eve of Mother’s Day, NPR honors this species’ story of struggle, rebirth and death below ground.
Veiling, Unveiling, Reveiling
April 21, 2011 on Morning Edition
About 1 million Muslim women live in America; 43 percent of them wear headscarves full time. But now, a generation of Muslim women is taking off the headscarf, or hijab. For many, their choice is an attempt to balance their private lives with a very public symbol of their religion.
Horses, Unicorns & Dolphins
February 9, 2011 on All Things Considered
Many girls fantasize about horses, dolphins and unicorns. One theory about why is that it helps them express their power. Others say the animals — real and mythical — symbolize dreaming and achieving. Still for many, it’s a way to run away with their imaginations.
Al Qaida Brides
January 28, 2011 on Morning Edition
In a country with millions of orphans and widows, officials say it’s tough to make women who are seen as criminals a priority, which means they’re basically ignored by everyone.
Lesbian Lives in Pakistan
January 17, 2011 on Morning Edition
Although gays and lesbians can be imprisoned for life in Pakistan, rarely are such charges brought to court. Pakistani lesbians say it is often easier for them to engage in a sexual relationship because society simply doesn’t perceive women to have sexual desires.
Girls Who Hunt
December 9, 2010 on Morning Edition
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service there are some 300,000 female hunters under the age of 16. We travel to Wayne Country, Mississippi to meet a girl who hunts.
Hidden World of Kandahar Girls
November 25, 2010 on Morning Edition
Within the walls of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center in Kandahar, girls and young women throw off their burqas as they laugh and study together. Many of them want careers. But they know the danger in the Taliban heartland is real. “We want to be brave,” says student Tahira Sadisaidi.
The Secret (and Not So Secret) Life of Theresa Sparks
October 26, 2010 on NPR’s All Things Considered
We take a look at the life of Theresa Sparks, the former San Francisco Police Commissioner who is running for a seat on the SF Board of Supervisors.
The Brave Heart Women’s Society: Coming of Age in South Dakota
September 6, 2010 on NPR’s Morning Edition
Brook Spotted Eagle called us from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. She told us about the Brave Heart Women’s Society and invited The Kitchen Sisters to their Isnati Coming of Age Ceremony for Girls.
Women in Pop in Character
August 12, 2010 on Morning Edition
A look into the created characters of today’s rising pop artists.
The Hidden Wedding Dance of Sudan
July 22, 2010 on Morning Edition
Young brides in Northern Sudan have been performing the Bride Dance on, or near, their wedding nights for thousands of years. Today, plenty of Sudanese women reject it, saying they don’t want to debase themselves.
Deborah Luster: One Big Self
June 30, 2010 on NPR’s All Things Considered
After the violent murder of her mother, photographer Deborah Luster takes thousands of haunting formal portraits of men and women incarcerated in Louisiana’s prisons. Working with poet CD Wright, she creates a project called One Big Self
The Day the Earth Stood Still
June 1, 2010 on NPR’s Morning Edition
Science fiction writer Pat Cadigan sent us an email that inspired this story about her secret life with her best friend Rosemarie.
The Hidden World of Daphne Mae Hunt
May 6, 2010 on NPR’s All Things Considered
Nigerian writer Chris Abani’s story about his English-born mother enlisting him at age 8 to be her translator in Nigeria as she travels door to door through the villages teaching women the Billings Ovulation Method of birth control.
Hidden World of Traveller Girls
April 29, 2010 on NPR’s Morning Edition
Travellers. The people of walking. Sometimes called the gypsies of Ireland. They speak of non-Travellers as “the settled people.” Mistrusted for the most part and not well-understood. Nomads, moving in caravans, living in encampments on the side of the road. We listen to the stories of young Traveller women and explore some of the ancient and modern rituals clinging on the edge of the Celtic Boom.
Chicken Pills
March 22, 2010 on NPR’s All Things Considered
Every culture has its idealized woman, its standard of beauty that is valorized. And everywhere around the world women are altering themselves in small and major ways to achieve the celebrated look. History is full of body altering cosmetic methods, both medical and homegrown, that help women attain this ideal — foot binding, corseting, liposuction, face lifts… In this story we travel to Jamaica, to the streets of Kingston, where women have come up with their own unique beauty enhancement techniques.
The Call for Stories
March 22, 2010 on NPR’s Morning Edition
Today we launch a new series on NPR, The Hidden World of Girls, girls and the women they become.  The series is a collaboration between The Kitchen Sisters, NPR and our listeners.  Over the coming months we will bring you stories from around the world — stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities  –of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide.

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Funding for this series comes from:

National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Further Support Provided By:

NPR Kitchen Sisters


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