Volha Fedarauna poses at the house, part of This is gender

This is gender photography exhibition at UCL

A new photography exhibition is opening eyes to expressions of gender across the world. This is gender is on at University College London until March 22.

Drawn from the works of 200 photographers in more than 50 countries, it explores how gender is experienced by people of different cultures and backgrounds.

The images were submitted in response to a global photography competition by gender equality collective Global Health 50/50.

They provide a surprising and intimate insight into the dynamic and complex nature of gender.

Andrei Liankevich won first place for Markevich Volha Fedarauna poses at the house.

It is a portrait of a widowed woman in Belarus – a country where by the age of 65, there are twice as many women as men in society.

V Untitled shows two people sitting in long grass. Part of This is gender
V Untitled, 2018, (Johannesburg, South Africa. 2018), by Micha Serraf

‘An unprecedented look at gender’

“The competition emerged because when we looked, we saw a lack of diversity and critically reflective images of gender in global health,” said Dr Kent Buse, co-founder of Global Health 50/50.

“In a time when the very concept of gender and gender equality is under attack, images that explore gender in all its diversity are more important than ever.

“We asked the global community of photographers to share their vision of gender, intersectionality and health.

“What we got was an unprecedented and tender look at how gender operates in society.”

The photographs provide a powerful counterpoint to the traditional ‘development’ images typical in global health and international development publications.

A widowed woman in Belarus shows strength in a society where a third of men are dead by 65.

A pregnant trans man at home in Canada calmly returns our gaze as he poses for a portrait by his partner.

Female workers in India proudly display the sanitary towels they have learnt to make.

A US victim of sex trafficking sits with a smile on a bench while her dog lies at her feet.

Elsewhere, boys in Kenya bask in a river while women wash clothes in the background.

Janet at home by Emma Wilson, part of This is gender exhibition
Janet at home (Bransholme, Hull. 2018) by Emma Wilson

Power, Privilege and Priorities

Several of the images feature in Global Health 50/50’s third annual Gender and Health Index, Power, Privilege and Priorities.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis on gender equality and the distribution of power and privilege in global health.

Leading organisations – including non-governmental, corporate businesses and funders – voice a growing commitment to gender equality.

However, Power, Privilege and Priorities shows how significant shortfalls exist in the planning and delivery of their own gender equality and diversity policies and practices.

It also highlights how a skewed distribution of power, privilege and priorities in global health is found to be undermining global efforts to reach the United Nations Member States’ health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

This leads to consequences for the health and wellbeing of billions of people.

“Achieving gender equality in health is an essential ingredient to realising equality in every other aspect of our world,” said Professor Sarah Hawkes, co-director of Global Health 50/50.

“But the majority of the 200 organisations and companies we reviewed are not embracing policies that support this.

“If organisations do not publicly embed equality and diversity internally, how can we expect they do so in their policy making and delivery?”

This is gender

This is gender challenges, confronts and complexifies how we see our gendered world.

It urges global health and development to consider the power and politics of representation in the imagery they use.

It is on display at the North Cloisters at University College London, until March 22.

Images can also be seen at www.globalhealth5050.org/thisisgender.

Spectrum Photographic produced 21x C-type Matt prints mounted on to Dibond with fixings.

Main image: Markevich Volha Fedarauna poses at the house (Belarus) by Andrei Liankevich

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