This Photo Collection Is Diversifying the Visual Representation of Women’s Empowerment

Authors: Olivia Kestin and Catherine Caruso

Yagazie Emezi/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment
Why Global Citizens Should Care
Equal representation is key to achieving gender equality around the world. Global Goal 5 promotes gender equality for all and bringing an end to discrimination. Join us and take action on this issue here.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Getty Images has released a newly expanded photo collection showcasing the work and lives of women from across the globe. 

In partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Images of Empowerment collection contains nearly 2,000 editorial images of women from 11 different countries, working and participating in their communities. 

Featuring photos of women from Colombia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, and the US, the photo library also contains 150 images of young women leaders fighting for reproductive rights and health care in Rwanda.

“Pictures help us tell the stories of our lives and experiences,” Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer Sarah Jane Staats said in a press release. 

https___www.imagesofempowerment.org_wp-content_uploads_hewlett_India_fullrelease63-scaled.jpgWomen gather outside their homes to discuss the area upkeep and work issues. They are organized home-based workers, associated with organizations and unions that work to secure the rights and housing conditions of workers in the informal sector.
Image: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Nonprofits and other organizations working to expand women’s rights and gender equality often do not have access to affordable stock images that can help complement or explain their missions. 

Images of Empowerment aims to change. All of the images in the collection are free to non-commercial users and corporations alike.

“These high-quality, positive images will help them tell their stories and inspire action,” Staats said.

This collection is a big step towards diversifying stock photo archives, which have previously been criticized for their lack of representation of women of color. 

In 2019, Getty Images collaborated with Dove and GirlGaze to create Project #ShowUs, which featured over 5,000 images of women and non-binary people from various countries and diverse ethnic backgrounds. 

Similarly, Images of Empowerment aims to uplift women all over the world who are making an impact in their communities and portray them as empowered decision-makers fighting for their rights. 

“The women I photographed are health workers, community activists, students, mothers, and daughters with such joy and close bonds to their families,” Getty Images photographer Yagazie Emezi said in the press release. “They are women helping other women. This is what they look like and it's important for the world to see them as they truly are.” 

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Kamini Kumari, an auxiliary midwife nurse, provides medical care to women at a rural health center in Muzzafarpur, India. Women's equal participation in governance and leadership roles are a step towards building stronger communities and improving reproductive health services at village, block, and district levels. The Center for Catalyzing Change is strengthening the voice, participation, leadership, and influence of elected women representatives to achieve these goals.

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Women from the Young Mothers Group meet and receive family planning information from a community health worker in Apac, Uganda. The program is supported by Reproductive Health Uganda, which aims to empower the women in the group and provide them with family planning information.

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Daisy Isimbi is a 21-year-old university student studying business management with an interest in international business in Kigali, Rwanda. A friend introduced her to Youth Development Labs, which conducts a co-design workshop exploring methods to connect young Rwandan entrepreneurs and unemployed youth. She chose to attend because she wants to play a part in solving youth unemployment.

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Zinda, pictured here with her baby, is a young advocate inspired by her experiences at Let's Talk events at Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Let's Talk uses art and culture to address issues of reproductive health, rights, and justice, and focuses on leadership development, cultural competency, peer education, and collaboration as catalysts for systemic change.

https___www.imagesofempowerment.org_wp-content_uploads_packard_pb_india_11.14_fullrelease003.jpgImage: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Eighth grade students are pictured in a mathematics class at Middle School Keoti Balak in Darbhangha, India. Teachers at the school deliver CorStone's Youth First program, an integrated emotional resilience and health curriculum for grades six to eight. Youth First is a unique intervention that helps children build their resiliency, improve self-efficacy, and develop social-emotional intelligence; this work prepares them for additional programs in adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

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Maasai tribe students at the Shompole school that is supported by AMREF in Shompole, Kenya. This school supports alternative rights of passage for young Maasai tribe girls, that would prevent them from going through the traditional female circumcision and keep them in school through secondary school.

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Viboonsri Wongsangiym and her husband, Bang Aree, produce Muslim garments in their home in suburban Bangkok, Thailand. Like most home-based workers, the couple must deal with constraints typical to informal workers, especially irregular orders and inconsistent income. They joined HomeNet Thailand to access more benefits for informal workers and to connect to new work opportunities.

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Auria Cantorín owns a newsstand and is a newspaper vendor, a canillita, as they are known locally as is locally in Lima, Peru. Her organization is affiliated to the National Federation of Newspapers, Magazines, and Lottery Vendors.

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Tadakorn Suttiporn tends to a community-run garden in her free time in Bangkok, Thailand. Suttiporn is a member of HomeNet Thailand, an organization that helps non traditional workers access more benefits and connect to new work opportunities.

https___www.imagesofempowerment.org_wp-content_uploads_PA-1799312_335-scaled.jpgImage: Yagazie Emezi/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment

Health Development Initiative (HDI) was founded by Rwandan physicians with the goal of empowering individuals and communities to improve health and advance development. HDI's outreach programs include engaging young people to become champions for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). These youth champions have gathered to discuss challenges they and their peers encounter when trying to advocate for SRHR in their communities.

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Lucy Mokheles has a physically demanding workday, she works in a private home, cooking and cleaning for her elderly employer and other family members in Johannesburg, South Africa. A respectful and flexible relationship with her employers helps make the hard domestic work easier. Once ashamed of her occupation, she now says she feels proud to be earning an income and contributing to her community and country through domestic work. 

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A mother plays with her daughter as part of TOSTAN's Reinforcement of Parental Practices Module in Keur Alpha, Senegal. The goal is for parents and community members to apply the knowledge gained during the Reinforcement of Parental Practices giving children an excellent start in their social, linguistic, and emotional growth.

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Jethi Varjin does back-breaking work as a head loader in India at Ahmedabad's teeming main vegetable market. She carries heavy loads of vegetables from trucks arriving from rural areas to local vendors. Jethi, a member of the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a trade union for poor, self-employed women in the informal sector, has to work quickly because she is paid by the weight of each load.

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Martha Kotey is pictured selling fabrics in Makola Market in Accra, Ghana. For more than 17 years now, Martha has been trading in fabrics, first in brightly colored printed clothes and now in school uniform fabrics. Martha is one of the more than 2,000 members of the Makola Market Traders Union, an affiliate of the Ghana Trade Union Congress.

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Head nurse Margie Harriet Egessa provides antenatal counseling and checkups for a group of pregnant women at Mukujju clinic in Tororo, Uganda.