Women of the World: A Best of Slideshow

Throughout this journey, it has continually been impressed upon me that being a woman in many parts of the world is still no easy task. The force of prejudice and the impact of poor education, difficult working conditions, low pay and limited access to medical care make life challenging for women around the world.

Hope remains, however.

Laughing Women - Paraw Bibi, Turkmenistan
An Inside Joke – Paraw Bibi, Turkmenistan

We continue to meet so many women who, despite the hardships, have risen above them with an undeniable sense of pride and an unassailable courage. With an eye to creating a better life for their children and for themselves, these women question prevailing norms and fuel the fire of change and improvement in their communities; they form the backbone of their families and societies. It’s their behavior that helps build a bridge to the future – a future where their daughters may aspire to become someone or something that their mothers could once only barely dream of.

It’s in honor of this spirit and International Women’s Day that we share a slideshow of a few of them – the inspirational, beautiful women we’ve had the fortune to meet along our journey.

Women of the World Slideshow

If you don’t have a high speed connection or you would like to read the captions, view the Women of the World photo essay.

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  1. Agne says

    Wonderful portraits of women!

    Happy International Women’s Day, Audrey! I think it’s thrilling to celebrate it in Antarctica

  2. Penney says

    This a beautiful tribute to women. Sometimes we get caught up in the hair and makeup craziness. These women exemplify natural beauty. You can see the love and joy from their eyes. Thank you.

  3. says

    Great photos, as always. It has been shown that the more educated women are in a society, the better a society does as a whole, as women are more likely to pass that knowledge down to children. Hopefully conditions for women will improve around the world.

  4. says

    Audrey/Daniel – once again, stunning photos. I can almost chart each person’s back story. Kyle makes a lovely statement, but I also believe knowledge is not always based on a type of education. Lots of nations lack economic, political or social gains for women, that is true. However, maybe we tend to dismiss the invisible knowledge unseen to the tourist eye. Whether it’s generational stories, crafting skills, or particular rites of passage for young girls.

    On that note, here’s to International Women’s Day!

  5. says

    This post is so inspiring. Despite hardships and struggles, happiness and determination shine through in the faces and smiles of each of the women. Such an amazing recap to your travels thus far.

  6. says

    Great post for Women’s Day, and some amazing portraits. I’m proud that I don’t have to look far for inspiration–my wife constantly inspires me.

  7. says

    @Agne: I realize this is a bit belated, but thanks for your Women’s Day greetings! Hope you had a good one in Vilnius!

    @Penney: Thanks so much for your comment! I completely agree about natural beauty and the pride that comes through these women. Beautiful.

    @Kyle: Studies have also shown that programs (e.g., microfinance) that target women tend to result in a higher likelihood that those women will send their daughters to school as well. The ripple effect goes for generations.

    @Nomadic Chick: I do agree with you that there is certainly so much knowledge that is not learned in school, but instead passed on in families and cultures. However, I’ve also met many women who were so thankful for an opportunity to become literate in adulthood. Being able to read and write really changed the confidence they had in themselves and how they were able to manage their small family businesses. There are still many places where girls are discouraged to go to school, even though some really would like to have an opportunity to education.

    @Lori: “Happiness and determination” – you summed up very well what we’ve seen in so many women around the world. It’s humbling at times to see this incredible spirit even in the face of many hardships.

    @Matt: Very kind words about our photos…and your wife! I am also very fortunate that I have an incredible mother who has served as a role model for me my whole life.

  8. says

    That was fantastic to watch. And everybody’s comments made me so happy.

    Currently I am on a solo backpacking trip and meeting lots of women from every walk of life. Absolutely amazing to watch them work, enjoy, and try to fulfil dreams.

    thank you for sharing these photos.

  9. says

    @Nisha and Dave/Deb: Thanks for the kudos on the photos. I’m so glad to hear how the spirit of these women come through the images. We’ve found so much inspiration in women in some really unexpected areas. I can’t wait to see what we find in Africa.

  10. Don says

    Audrey and Dan: Thanks so much for the beautiful photos of these amazing
    women of the world. Strength, humor, enthusiasm, optimism, endurance. They continue to bring all of these and many more to this badly fractured planet of ours, and, despite all they have endured, are showing us that a more compassionate way is possible. In our community as
    well as many other communities the initiatives to move in a different direction are overwhelmingly being led by women. So lets celebrate all women of the world for the hope they bring, and, in doing so, not forget the
    ones that are standing right next to us.

  11. says

    @Marta: Thanks for your kind words about our photos!

    @Don: I remember listening to an NPR story earlier this year that highlighted a group of women in Liberia who were reaching out to mothers in Palestine and Israel. The common theme was that they had all lost children to violence and wars. But instead of focusing on their individual loss and situation, these women in Liberia had the compassion to reach out to other women suffering from similar losses and try to turn this loss into a hope for peace. Truly moving.

    We continue to be amazed both by the initiatives of individual women and by the community movements started by women in places where traditionally women have not been public figures. Their focus is on a better life for their children, and know what needs to change to support that.

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