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The ‘Women's Vision’ Photo Exhibition: Breaking the Mould

06 March 2012

There are photograph prints hanging on the wall of Tashkent’s Art&Fact gallery, and an expanding group of people are studying the beautifully captured and artfully-arranged images. Each photograph features a moment of the day-to-day lives of professionals in Uzbekistan. There is a tram driver adjusting a railway switch, transporting commuters through Tashkent, and taking a well-earned break in a local cafeteria. There is a motor mechanic, carrying a heavy tire, working on an engine part, and cleaning off after a busy day in the shop. There is an oil-and-gas engineer, inspecting equipment and managing teams of workers. There is a Santa Claus dressed in the red and white suit complete with beard and fantastical makeup, waiting to greet happy children during the holiday season. There is a decorated officer in Uzbekistan’s police force, working to ensure our nation’s security.


In many cases such photographs may seem everyday and unremarkable, but the works on display at the exhibition grab our attention. They are original and interesting because the professionals they depict have all broken stereotypes. It is the cultural stereotype that men ought to fill these positions, but the photographs depict members of the other gender.

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The ‘Women’s Vision’ exhibition, launched by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations information Office at the Art&Fact gallery on Tuesday the 6th of March, has been held in recognition of Thursday’s International Women’s Day. As the conclusion of the ‘Women’s Vision’ photo contest which took place throughout January and February, the photographs on display are selected images which portray women working in non-stereotypical professions. One cannot help but admire the subjects of these works. The photographed women have worked hard to overcome the societal and cultural expectations placed on them. They possess the motivation and passion to pursue their dream professions, undaunted by difficulties and obstacles. They have attained the respect and admiration of their superiors, co-workers and staff. They are pioneers in all sense of the word.

Following the United Nations Information Office’s introductory remarks during the exhibition’s opening ceremony, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP in Uzbekistan Mr. Jaco Cilliers provided an explanation of the event’s significance. In his speech to the gathered journalists, event guests, photographers and UN colleagues, Mr. Cilliers stated that the purpose of this exhibition, held in recognition of International Women’s Day, is to appreciate the work which has been achieved in promoting gender diversity and equality in the workplace. However, it was evident that the photographs on display represented what are still only unusual situations. The railway lines, workshops and drill rigs of the tram drivers, motor mechanics and engineers portrayed in the exhibition are still places dominated by the men, and so the photos of these important women represent a call to action; a need to achieve gender balance in the workplace.

Following Mr. Cilliers statements, awards were given to the exhibition and its related contest’s three winners, including Ms. Nodira Alimova in 3rd place, Ms. Anastacia Kasyanova in 2nd place, and Ms. Violeta Braun in first. As the photographer of the series which portrayed the daily life of a motor mechanic, Ms. Braun took the opportunity to speak about the professional she photographed, while providing further insight into her daily life.

The ‘Women’s Vision’ photography exhibition helped to highlight the main purpose of International Women’s Day: to help achieve gender equality at home, in the workplace and in the community. Every photograph served as evidence that, with collective action, these goals can be achieved. The ‘Women’s Vision’ exhibition will be held at Tashkent’s Art&Fact gallery until the 19th of March, after which it will be moved to the UN office in Uzbekistan.

To learn more, please go to ‘Promoting Wider Profession Choices and Empowering Women.’