If you had to draw a picture of your understanding of women's rights and gender equality, what would you put on the page? This is what I drew...

It’s pretty bad (I admit it!), and it’s a stark contrast to the illustrations designed by a talented group of European comic and cartoon artists who accepted a similar challenge.

This year, the United Nations entity for gender equality, UN Women--together with the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and UNRIC--asked European comic and cartoon artists, aged 18-28 years, to picture their understanding of these issues through cartoons and comics...and they delivered.

The best comics and cartoons--selected by a jury of professional comic artists, gender equality experts, and communication experts--are currently highlighted on UN Women's website.

The illustrations are amusing, of course, but more importantly, they communicate a clear cry for gender equality. As I looked through them, I felt totally connected to the messages they are meant to convey.

Women ARE equal.

Women ARE powerful.

Gender inequality affects both women AND men.

Yet, there's still a lot men and women can do to erase gender stereotypes and ensure that women are treated equally around the world.

For a second, I forgot that these powerful messages were communicated without words. It made me wonder, "What else can be done without words?"  

Inequality exists in the form of unspoken actions each and every day, actions that are sometimes performed subconsciously. Even the most thoughtful individuals may fall victim to these actions due to longstanding stereotypes and societal traditions.

This can be changed. Think back on your last few days. How might you have subconsciously given into gender stereotypes? How will you try to be more conscious?

While you’re thinking about that, get involved globally and sign the petition in TAKE ACTION NOW to get the G20 to prioritize giving women equal economic opportunities. Changing ourselves is the first step and changing the world is what is needed for everyone.

You can find the full set of comics and cartoons (as well as the artists’ names and comments about gender equality) here. Congratulations to all of the finalists and semi-finalists!


Demand Equity

I scream, you scream, we all scream for #genderequality

By Caryn Carver