Photo:  Anna Boyiazis/WPP


As a special homage to International Women’s Day, which falls on Wednesday, March 8, Mexico’s Franz Mayer Museum — which has for the last 23 years presented exhibits of the winners of the annual World Press Photo (WPP) contest — will present 17 photos that address issues of gender gap, injustice, identity and gender violence worldwide.

The photographs in the exhibit, titled “Resilience: Stories of Women who Inspired Change,” and which is due to open on Tuesday, Feb. 14, are part of the World Press Photo archive and were taken between 2000 and 2022.

Photo: Jonathan Bachman/WPP

The exhibit aims to showcase the active struggles of women through photojournalism, as well as to highlight the importance of this medium recording and modifying human history.

This is the first time that the Franz Mayer Museum is presenting two separate World Press Photo exhibits: its standard exhibit of the annual winners in July and this special female-focused exhibit.

The exhibit is being cosponsored by the Netherlands Embassy in Mexico.

In a press release, the Franz Mayer Museum noted that “violence against women prevails as a serious global security and health problem that does not allow equal opportunities.”

“Statistics show that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime,” the press release stated.

Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly/WPP

“According to a study carried out by Women Photograph in 2020, on average only 20 percent of the photographs in the main stories, published by eight of the largest newspapers in the world were taken by women. Within World Press Photo, the number of women entering the contest has increased over the past five years from 15 percent to 20 percent in 2022. All these figures reveal only part of the problem and paint a true picture of all that is missing to be done on issues of equality and gender justice.”

Of the photos in the exhibit, the story of Ieisha Evans peacefully protesting the death of Alton Sterling, shot at point-blank range by police officers in Louisiana, on July 5, 2016, is one of the most powerful. Taken by Jonathan Bachman, this photo won first place in the single contemporary issues category in the 2017 World Press Photo contest.

Also powerful is the story of Siti, Chema and Kazija, swimming instructors for the Panje Project in the Zanzibar Archipelago, where women are discouraged from learning to swim due to the absence of demure swimsuits. In addition to challenging a patriarchal system, the project has created a sustainable cycle empowering students to teach others by providing them with full-body swimsuits. This series was taken by Anna Boyiazis, who won second place in the people category in the 2018 WWP contest.

In Iran, women are prohibited from entering soccer stadiums. Pressure from FIFA led to the proclamation of a decree in June 2028 that allowed Azadi Stadium to admit limited groups of women, although not to all matches. At the risk of arrest, some fans dressed up as men to enter stadiums and advocate for women’s rights. During the reporting, the photographer Forough Alaei also dressed as a man to enter the stadium. This series won first place in the sports category in the 2019 WWP contest.

The new WWP Resilience exhibit is part of the Franz Mayer’s yearlong focus on women and their struggles.

The Franz Mayer Museum is located at Avenida Hidalgo 45 in Mexico City´s Centro Histórico, and the Resilience exhibit will remain on display there through mid-March.

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