The fight for workplace equality is far from over, but these 11 stories are a start.

These women are breaking barriers and getting things done.

"Women's work" is a term traditionally used to narrow career possibilities and reinforce gender roles. But what if it wasn't?

A new photo series from Reuters explores the great diversity of what women at work look like around the world, across dozens of professions. Created to commemorate #BeBoldForChange, the theme of International Women's Day 2017, the photo series gives an up-close-and-personal look at the progress women have made in the workplace, as well as the struggles that lie ahead.

Here are 11 of those kickass women talking about the sexism they've faced even as they break down barriers and redefine what it means to be a woman at work.


1. Paloma Granero, 38, a skydiving instructor from Madrid, Spain.

"Men don’t have to prove themselves like we do. We are tested every day," said Granero. "The instruction jobs still go mostly to men, whereas the administrative jobs go mostly to women."

Photo by Susana Vera/Reuters.

2. Mado, 34, is an artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Once a company did not want to hire me to paint a mural because they said that women could not carry the work material (paint boxes, ladders)," Mado said. "I believe that things will only get better for all of us if men treat women equally."

Photo by Nacho Doce/Reuters.

3. Ivonne Quintero is a chef living in Mexico City.

"There are many limitations in the kitchen for being female. I had two men under my charge and they did not do what I asked them to do in the kitchen because I was a woman," said Quintero.

Photo by Henry Romero/Reuters.

4. Merylee is a 26-year-old soldier in Nice, France.

"The parity in the army already exists," said Merylee. "It is the uniform that takes precedence over gender."

Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters.

5. Julia Argunova, 36, is a mountaineering instructor in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

"Physical strength benefits male colleagues in some situations on harder routes," she said, posing 10,500 feet above sea level in the Tien Shan mountains. "But, women are more concentrated and meticulous. In general, women are better at teaching. My main professional task is to teach safe mountaineering."

Photo by Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters.

6. 34-year-old Lejla Selimovic is a furniture restorer from Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"In my country this is an unusual profession for a woman, but so far I have not met anyone seeing it in a negative context," Selimovic said. "People are often surprised, but essentially only interested in a job well done."

Photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters.

7. Sarah Hunter is a 31-year-old rugby player in West London.

"I think that if we’re the right person for the right job in the workplace then so be it and the same for men," said the RFU University rugby development officer. "I’ve worked for the RFU, and being what is deemed as a male sport perhaps in the past, I was welcomed into that environment and I personally haven’t experienced gender inequality in the workplace, so I think that I’ve been very fortunate in the career that I’ve had and in the jobs that I’ve had that I’ve been seen for the person that I am and not for the gender that I am."

Photo by Henry Browne/Reuters.

8. Alice Temperley, 41, is a fashion designer from London.

"I don't think the fashion industry suffers from [gender inequality] like other industries necessarily. I do think though, I have to say, there's not that many women designers because the intensity of being the designer and the seasons and the churn of it and having children and being a woman, I think that's why a lot of bigger designers are men. I don't think that's a sexist thing, I think you have to be very strong to be able to take the pace. ... There are different issues in our industry," Temperley said during London Fashion Week.

Photo by Neil Hall/Reuters.

9. Filipina Grace Ocol is a 40-year-old backhoe operator in Tubay, Agusan del Sur, southern Philippines.

"There are a few female workers that can drive big trucks and backhoe," the mother of three said. "If men can do it, why can't women do it? I'm better than the men, they can only drive trucks here but I can drive both."

Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters.

10. 45-year-old Claudia Concha Parraguez is a pole-dancing instructor living in Santiago, Chile.

"Some students with low self-esteem smile more and feel beautiful after training. But because of the poor mentality of their husbands, who do not see this activity as a sport and associate it with something sexual, they stop attending classes," she said.

Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters.

11. Dr. Catherine Reynolds, 37, is a scientific researcher in London.

"Women are very well represented at junior levels in biological sciences research. At a senior level it is still true that there are fewer female professors in science, but the gap is slowly closing," the Imperial College researcher said. "More policies that promote flexible working and that support staff in taking career breaks (both men and women) are an essential way in which it is possible for employees, especially those with young families, to realize their full potential in the workplace."

Photo by Dylan Martinez.

So there you have it. "Women's work" is any job a woman is doing or any job that women want to do. The days of "women's work" being an indicator of workplace gender-role reinforcement aren't over yet — but the more we see and share stories of women accomplishing great things in every industry, the closer we get to moving into a future where that's the case.

Learn more about International Women's Day at the IWD website, and check out the rest of the photos from this series over at Reuters.

More

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended