#Artivism for gender equality

Date: 14 November 2019

These 25 art pieces by artist from across North America, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25), the most visionary agenda for women’s rights and empowerment everywhere.

The illustrations highlight a wide range of gender equality and women’s rights issues and women’s activism and agency in overcoming challenges and pushing for the realization of their rights.

This exhibition was conceptualized by Women’s Major Group and UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia to be presented at the Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting for the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the preceding Civil Society Forum in Geneva in October 2019.

Fight. Artist: Ina RIEGLER

The painting explores the fact that too many women are still experiencing physical, psychological and structural violence every day. This piece is a self-portrait of the artist in boxing gear. Artist: Ina RIEGLER

Artist: Brooke ESTIN

When one is centred on their loving heart, that energy can manifest in the world in unexpected ways. This piece represents the many phases of the complexity of relationships. Lesson is that when we learn to drop out of conflict and into our hearts, we can signal love. Artist: Brooke ESTIN


Mother nature

Empowering women is the world’s best bet to fight climate change. That’s why the Women Resource Centres in rural Azerbaijan help women to start businesses that safeguard the environment and promote sustainable agriculture. Artist: Lala GASIM

Battlegrounds and playgrounds. Artist: K.Angeline PITTENGER

This is an image derived from Barbara Kruger’s 1989 work, Untitled (Your Body Is a Battleground). Kruger’s piece was created when I was nine years old. The above image was made in humble homage and gratitude for the work that Kruger and other feminists that came before me (howsoever imperfectly) have done. Artist: K.Angeline PITTENGER

Sexism. Artist: Rand JARALLAH

Ever felt like you were being treated as an accessory at the meeting table because you’re a woman? Whether at the work-place, a social gathering, or at home? Yeah, I’ve felt that too. It’s called sexism. What is sexism? It is prejudice or discrimination based on sex especially against women. Artist: Rand JARALLAH



Freedom and equality. Artist:  Maria SIVERS

Women and girls live in a historically patriarchal world, with many local and national structures still biased towards men. Globally, patriarchal structures are a major obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people. Artist: Maria SIVERS

Second Sex. Artist: Bhargavi JOSHI

Growing up in India, I was acutely aware of the harassment women face on a daily basis at home, on the streets, and in their workplace. Then, as I travelled and lived around the world, I realized that this isn’t as much an issue of the ‘third world,’ as it is of the ‘second sex’. Artist: Bhargavi JOSHI

Artist: Tim Maatman

The illustration on an equal footing shows the leg of a white person (possibly a man), at least the bottom part of it, and a woman (possibly of another colour) looking up to this immense figure (demonstration of power?). Artist: Tim MAATMAN



International Day of the Girl Child. Artist: Ia Ninoshvili/Forset

At the age of 10, a girl is at a crossroads. Which path she takes does not only matter for her own life. It matters for the lives of all of us. Credited to UNFPA Georgia. Artist: Ia NINOSHVILI

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality”. Artist: Emily GREGORIOU

Frida Kahlo has become an icon in Europe, and all around the world. Though this may seem positive (in highlighting women artists) the way she is often showcased - immortalised on objects and as decoration - goes instead to devalue her complex life, struggles and activism. Artist: Emily GREGORIOU

Pseudo-Heroes. Artist: Erden ZIKIBAY

More often than not, men in oppressive societies avoid challenging the systemic injustices that undermine their rights. Instead they tend to turn their frustration and anger on women who are seeking and fighting for emancipation. Artist: Erden ZIKIBAY


Check out all illustrations from the #Artivism for gender equality exhibition here.