Women and girls are disproportionately affected by barriers to freedom of expression and representation. Of the world’s 796 million illiterate adults, over two thirds are women residing in the Global South, who are barred from expressing themselves. This goes hand in hand with a lack of economic independence – in 2016, women only earn a tenth of the world’s income.
Women’s stories cannot be represented if they aren’t able to articulate or share them in the first place. In 2014, only 30% of global news stories were about women, and the press of the shutter often created an oppressed and monolithic image of women in the Global South. Lensational aims to change this.
Globally, photography is still inaccessible in many developing countries, but it has the power to be a transformative communication tool, allowing women and girls who can’t read or write to express themselves. Photography as a language transcends barriers and cultures, and in today’s visual world, it is an important part of identity-building, giving one the ability to show one’s world, and shape one’s stories.