In the development sector, women are often portrayed as vulnerable or suffering. Photo courtesy of ActionAid

BARCELONA — In the development and humanitarian aid sector, women are often portrayed as vulnerable or suffering — particularly those who live in challenging situations, faced with the daily realities of poverty, conflict, or crisis. Society has predominantly viewed these women through the experience and vision of male photographers.

Committed to changing that, the following selection of photos — all taken by female photographers — emphasizes women’s humanity and dignity. The original series, entitled “Women by Women,” is a photo campaign and recent exhibition by ActionAid that has been looking to change the face of photography.

In this visual feature, Devex brings a selection of these photos to our audience.

These photos present stories of empowerment, entrepreneurship, and solidarity and were taken by local female photographers to bring a deeper level of understanding and authenticity to women’s experiences. They were also produced in collaboration with the women and girls who feature in them, ensuring they have a choice in how they are represented.

View a selection of these photos from the “Women by Women” campaign.

Devex, with support from our partner UN Women, is exploring how data is being used to inform policy and advocacy to advance gender equality. Gender data is crucial to make every woman and girl count. Visit the Focus on: Gender Data page for more. Disclaimer: The views in this article do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women.

About the authors

  • Helen Morgan

    Helen Morgan is an Associate Editor at Devex. She has a background in human rights, radio and journalism, and has written for a variety of international publications while living and working in Buenos Aires, New York and Shanghai. She is now based in Barcelona and supports editorial content on campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. She is currently studying a master's degree in contemporary migration.
  • Naomi Mihara

    Naomi Mihara is a Video Journalist for Devex, based in Barcelona. She has a background in journalism and international development, having previously worked as an assistant correspondent for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and as a communications officer for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University.