I will never forget the day at my University, when my well-meaning professor asked the class if women in society today, still had to struggle for rights, as they did in the early 20th century. I will not forget it because of the silent nodding and mutual appreciation that went around the class that day, agreement between both genders, that suggested that at least in most Western cultures, they believed that women and men were treated pretty much equally.
And then there was my single voice crying out against it all.
While it is true that gender equality has come a long way over the last 100 years, women’s right to vote becoming ever more the rule than the exception, the general agreement of people that the gender wage gap and rape culture are largely unacceptable, and more and more female CEO’s and world leaders appearing every year, there is still a very long way to go.
International Women’s Day raises awareness of the work that women all over the world do in order to shrink this ever present gender gap. To celebrate this Vagabundo Magazine has collected photographs of women from around the world and is here to tell the story behind them.
Photo Credit: Alexandra Kahn
“My Mom is known for her laughter. You hear her before you see her. Everything is worth a laugh and every laugh is with her whole heart. In this photo we were on a safari and I’m sure I just said some silly comment about the animals to generate this reaction.”
Photo Credit: Willi Dolder
“In the extreme southeastern part of South Sudan lives a little tribe, the Toposa people. As usual in Africa the women do most of the work: working in the field, getting water, gathering fire wood, grinding and cooking maize and millet. They work very hard all day, every day and until two, three days before they give birth.”
Photo Credit: Stephen Lioy
“This photo was taken at the Mani Rimdu festival in the Nepalese monastery town of Tengboche well on the way to Everest Base Camp. This annual festival, the most important in the Sherpa calendar, sees pilgrims gather from all across the Khumbu district that surrounds Mt Everest to celebrate the banishment of demons from the region through traditional ‘Mask Dances’ performed by the monks of Tengboche. The family here was one of the first to show up for the main day of the ceremony and – like maternal figures everywhere – she was constantly having to keep an eye on the two boys with her to make sure they weren’t getting into trouble. At the time I’d assumed her expression was no account of the guys but looking at it again now I’m not sure if maybe she wasn’t annoyed at me for the picture!”
Photo Credit: Natalie Morawietz
“Women of the Hammer tribe in Ethopia, Omo Valley. The two girls are mainly laughing about us white tourists showing up in their village with an overland truck. They had rarely seen such a big vehicle carrying tourists around. On top I was driving this truck – women driving is something which makes almost all African laugh and point at you.”
Photo Credit: Georgina Young
“On a farm a couple of hours outside of New Delhi, I was working in a tiny rural school run by a rich Indian woman called Ela. The school worked towards educating local children who did not live within walking distance of a normal state school. Here 5-year-old Maneesha having never seen a camera before, copies me in an attempt to smile for her portrait. I don’t think she quite figured the concept.”
Photo Credit: Lauren Crabbe
“On a clear night in November, the rivers in the Isaan region of Thailand were flooded with light and colour. During the annual Loi Krathong festivities, local Thai people send lanterns off on the water and into the sky with wishes of prosperity for the coming year. This awe-filled woman turned to look at me before sending her krathong off into the night.”
Photo Credit: Brendan Van Son
“A teenage girl in a village in western Cote d’Ivoire poses for a photo, her face pained from a recent initiation ceremony, a vital part of a woman’s life in that part of the world.”
Photo Credit: Tiffany Wüest
“Every evening, as night gathers in Hoi An, Vietnam, women wearing traditional conical hats and colourful clothes crowd around the Thu Bon River to sell floating candles to the tourists. Once released into the water, they are supposed to make a wish come true. Many women bring their young children to work, or even send them out on their own, hoping that the little girls cute looks will attract more buyers.”
Photo Credit: William Wolf
“During a 5 day solo hike in Guinea’s Fouta Djallon region, I stumbled across a village called Mango. Luckily, this girl granted me permission to take her photo.”
Photo Credit: Laura MacNeill
“At Victory Lake a short flight out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, it is unusually a scorching 40 degrees Celsius. Lana teaches her boyfriend’s nephew how to stand appropriately so that she can slather him in sunscreen.”
Photo Credit: James Dorsey
“This shot is my wife Irene who is the co-founder of ‘The Society of Women Adventurers’ It was taken at the great pyramid at Giza and I thought it appropriate for International Women’s Day. This was a school field trip and when these girls heard us speaking English they mobbed her to ask questions.”
Photo Credit: Michael Fraiman
“This parade happens every six months in Ubud, Bali. The woman is watching a stream of hundreds of Hindu Balinese march down to a major temple just outside the town, where they will collectively pray for blessings for the next six months. I asked a few folks there at the time for specifics about the ceremony; none were able to explain, or perhaps they didn’t understand me, maybe.”
Photo Credit: Jo Magpie
“This is Marta conquering her fear of heights, climbing down into Butterfly Valley in South-West Turkey, early summer 2011.”
International Women’s Day Deal…
In honour of women the world over,Vagabundo is offering a year’s subscription for just $1.99. So pick up your subscription for an amazing woman in your life this International Women’s day.