5 Amazing Ways Women and Girls Are Breaking Gender Stereotypes Worldwide

Our Imagining Equality project has been keeping careful track of the multiple, varied ways that gender stereotypes are challenged, broken, and reshaped around the world.
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The past week has been pretty epic for women breaking gender stereotypes -- from celebrations for Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating the world's first computer programmer, to Warner Bros.' long awaited announcement of a Wonder Woman movie in 2016.

Our Imagining Equality project has been keeping careful track of the multiple, varied ways that gender stereotypes are challenged, broken, and reshaped around the world. Many of these efforts start early, empowering young girls to take leadership. Others call on everyone in the community -- including men -- to take action.

Here are five highlights from Imagining Equality that showcase some of the many ways women in the world are breaking stereotypes and challenging assumptions.

Women's Leadership in Vietnam: How More Women in Politics Bolsters Equality

A critical way to get women's voices to be heard is by electing women into public office. Yet despite the fact that women make up 50 percent of the population, they still make up just a small percentage of elected officials. This video is focused on Vietnam, where only 24 percent of elected officials are women, and a campaign to make women at least 35 percent of parliament by 2016.


Sometimes the biggest changes come from the youngest people. Elba and Emelin are two Mayan teenagers living in rural Guatelama, where only 14 percent of Mayan girls finish school and teen pregnancies are high. They were passionate about creating change in their community, and constantly looked for ways to help out. When they heard about Let Girls Lead's empowerment program, they immediately signed on. With their new skills, they lobbied their town mayor for new programs to protect women and girls. Despite resistance from the mayor and from local men and boys, they persevered - and eventually succeeded in gaining funding for programs that support girls' education, health, and safety.

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Right now misconceptions about Muslim women and their hijabs are everywhere. People make assumptions that Muslim women are oppressed, have no power, or are a threat to society. In this moving video, performance artists SAMANIA (Samira Mahboub and Ania Catherine) demonstrate what women experience when they wear certain styles of dress, from hijabs to street wear to traditional dresses--questioning the line between "liberated" and "oppressed."

Guerreiras Project: Female Futebol Players in Brazil Take on Gender Bias

Football (soccer) is more than just a hobby in Brazil -- it's a way of life. But it is still very dominated by men. The founders of the Guerreiras Project, named after the Portuguese term for female warriors, found that gender roles in sports are replicated in society--and so decided that football would be a great way to challenge these gender roles directly. The project started as a documentary and has now expanded to include training female football players as ambassadors, hosting exhibitions and presentations and conducting research around gender in sports.

Rethinking Equality in Awra Amba: A Progressive Community Thrives in Rural Ethiopia

Success in creating supporting communities for women doesn't just depend on the women; as Emma Watson recently asserted in launching the UN's #HeForShe campaign, men are equally important in supporting women's rights. The community of Awra Amba in Ethiopia shows that this is indeed possible, and benefits everyone. This video shows men and women rethinking gender roles in farming, housework, and beyond, taking what works and changing what doesn't.

For more stories of women breaking gender stereotypes around the world, visit Imagining Equality. Tell us how you envision the future of equality with the Equality Is badge maker, or take part in the conversation on Twitter using #EqualityIs.

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