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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.

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

"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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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