For International Women's Day 2016 - 92 images from 30 cities in 18 countries

For International Women’s Day 2016, a Humble Tribute

Gender parity is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated around the world today, and officially by the United Nations for the 41st consecutive year. More specifically, the theme is the demand to speed up progress on gender equality in order to meet the world body’s “Planet 50-50 by 2030” pledge, one which looks alarmingly out of reach in the next decade and a half.

Given the current rate of change, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015 released last November, the gap at present won’t be closed for another 118 years.

Those findings were underscored in Women at Work: Trends 2016, a report released today by the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO), which looked at data from 178 countries. It found that the rate of women’s participation in the workforce was 25.5% lower than men’s participation in 2015, a gap only 0.6% narrower than 20 years ago.

Lottery ticket vendors Quito - crop

That’s just one aspect of the gap, the more visible one those of us in the developed world can see, at least on paper if not in practice. Globally, and in more ‘real’ terms, the picture is much more bleak, underscoring that women simply can’t wait until 2133.

Women represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor, shoulder a disproportionate brunt of their family’s responsibilities, and face an endless litany of injustice and discrimination that blocks or limits access to even their most basic needs.

Women produce half the world’s food, work two-thirds of the world’s working hours but take home just ten percent of the world’s income. One in five will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. One woman dies every minute giving birth. Too many are prevented from attending even primary school. Until those things change, nothing else will.

For International Women's Day 2016 - 92 images from 30 cities in 18 countries
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That’s not to say that change hasn’t come since widespread campaigning for women’s equality began in the early years of the last century, most of it in the developed world.

Like similar observances where equal and human rights are at their core, International Women’s Day has its roots as a Socialist political event –given rise in the U.S. no less– which was first observed as “Women’s Day” in February 1909 to honor a 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York City where women protested their abysmal working conditions.

The idea crossed the Atlantic to Europe the following year and in 1911 was held officially as International Women’s Day for the first time. By the middle of the nineteen-teens it became a strong mechanism for protesting the first world war and to demand women’s suffrage.

It wasn’t until 1975, which was dubbed International Women’s Year by the UN, that the United Nations began to officially celebrate IWD.

While it’s celebrated in different countries in different ways –it’s an official state holiday in nearly 30– the day has largely maintained its political flavor, in the sense that it attempts to draw attention to the wide disparities that still exist between men and women.

To put a face on some of those numbers this morning we needn’t look much farther than one of the southern borders of the fractured European Union where a makeshift camp has penned the most recent refugees arriving from Syria, Iraq, Iran and elsewhere.

As of January 15, 2016, according to the UNHCR, over 55 per cent of those arriving are now women and children, as compared to just 27 per cent in June 2015.

As border and transit restrictions tighten, the risks women carry with them –sexual violence and exploitation chief among them– increase exponentially. There’s little reason to celebrate International Women’s Day on the Greek-Macedonian border this morning.

As my modest tribute, below are 92 images of women that I crossed paths with over the past few years, from 30 cities in 18 countries on five continents.

Because like Earth Day, every day is International Women’s Day.

All images © Bob Ramsak. All rights reserved. High resolution images available.
For stock or editorial use please get in touch.

Ait Iktel, Morocco

Ait Iktal, Morocco

Ait Iktel, Morocco 32

Ait Iktel, Morocco 13

Ait Iktel, Morocco 07

Ait Iktel, Morocco 02

El Chalten, Argentina

Bakery cafe owner, El Chalten Argentina, Feb 2013

Nanning, China



Quito, Ecuador

Atahualpa on a Bus, Quito, March 2015

Woman in a Green Hat, Quito

Lottery ticket vendors Quito - crop

Street vendor, calle Juan Leon Mera, Quito, Mar 2015

Pro-government May Day March in Quito 11

Street vendor, Plaza Grande, Quito, 20 April 2015

Pigeons landing at the Plaza San Francisco, Quito

Flower vendor, Calle Cuenca, Quito, Easter 2015

A woman wearing a cucurucho, a purple pointed cone headdress, participates in the annual Good Friday procession in the historical center of Quito, Ecuador.

Hope Koehler in Quito

Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming in Quito

Andrea Jones-Sojola in Quito

Shawl vendors knitting, Plaza de San Francisco, Quito

Espumilla vendors chatting, Plaza Grande, Quito, 19-Mar-2015

A woman chanting during a demonstration in Quito

An indigenous woman at an anti-government protest in Quito, Ecuador in March 19, 2015

An indigenous woman at a demonstration in Quito, Ecuador on March 19, 2015

Woman, Plaza del Teatro, Quito

Woman at the Plaza Grande, Quito

Nun, Calle Venezuela, Quito

Woman praying at the Iglesia de El Sagrario in Quito

Expressing the joy that dance creates. Quito, Ecuador, 25-May-2013

March Against Monsanto in Quito, Ecuador

Gabriela Rivadeneira, president of the Ecuadorian National Assembly

Beirut, Lebanon

Paula Radcliffe with Syrian refugees in Beirut

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena Street vendor taking a break

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Hildur Gudnadottir in Ljubljana

2013 LJ Marathon 08

Salami and sausage stand, holiday market, Ljubljana

National Uprising demonstration, Republic Square, Ljubljana, 21-Dec-2012

National Uprising demonstration, Republic Square, Ljubljana, 21-Dec-2012

No cars doesn't mean not looking both ways before crossing.


Bogota, Colombia

Dancer in Bogota Street Carnival 11

Dancer in Bogota Street Carnival 1

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Woman managing the hot springs in the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve

Doha, Qatar

Gwen Stefani in Doha

Fourth floor walkway in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar

Distance runner Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia. Doha, Qatar, 08-May-2014

Cali, Colombia

Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain at the World Youth Championships in Cali

Brittley Humphrey at the World Youth Championships in Cali

On the Ngô Đồng River, northern Vietnam

Rower on the Ngô Đồng River, northern Vietnam

Portrait along the Ngô Đồng River

Otavalo, Ecuador

Woman selling corn at the central market in Otavalo, Ecuador

Street vendor, Otavalo, Ecuador

Hanoi, Vietnam

Sidewalk breakfast, Hanoi, Vietnam

Pineapple vendor Hanoi

Morning sword exercise, Hanoi

Fruit vendor in Hanoi, 23-Oct-2010

At the Thanh Xuan Orphanage and Clinic, Hanoi



At the Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Krakow, Poland

At the Jubilat bus stop in Krakow, Poland

Lima, Peru

Protesters, Lima, 06-May-2013

Medellin, Colombia

Posing with Mujer vestida, 1989, by Fernando Botero

At Botero Plaza, Medellin

Street vendor, Botero Plaza, Medellin, Colombia

Fruit and juice vendor, Medellin, Colombia

Sucre, Bolivia

Woman pauses to watch a marching band in Sucre, Bolivia

Egg Stand, Sucre, Bolivia

Bangkok, Thailand

Eggs on a stick in Bangkok

Portland, Oregon, USA

Garifuna Collective in Portland, Oregon

Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Like these next three photos, the lead image at top was also taken in Cleveland in August 2013 on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

“A dream deferred” – rally in Cleveland on the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington

“A dream deferred” – rally in Cleveland on the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington

“A dream deferred” – rally in Cleveland on the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington

Sapa, Vietnam

Saleswoman, Sapa, Vietnam

Seamstress and vendor, Sapa, Vietnam

Street vendor taking a break in Sapa, Vietnam

At the central market in Sapa, Vietnam

Nap time. Central market, Sapa, Vietnam

Cusco, Peru

Wedding celebration, central square, Cusco, Peru

Folk dancer, May Day Parade, Cusco, Peru, 01-May-2013

London, UK

Notting Hill Gate station, London, 10-August-2012

Emily Sandé at the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony

Brussels, Belgium

Posing during a parade, Brussels

Potosi, Bolivia

Quechua street vendors, Potosi, Bolivia

Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Lettuce vendor, Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Recycler, Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Istanbul, Turkey

Pigeon feed vendor, Istanbul

Singer Michal Elia Kamal from Light in Babylon, Istanbul

Velenje, Slovenia

Long jumper Olga Kucherenko in Velenje, Slovenia

Voi, Kenya


All images © Bob Ramsak. All rights reserved. High resolution images available.
For stock or editorial use please get in touch.
Interested in purchasing a print or other photo product of this image? They’re available here. If you’d like a print or card of an image not yet listed in my Redbubble portfolio, let me know. I’ll be happy to make it available.





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