International Women’s Day Photo Essay

Yesterday marked the 104th International Women’s Day.  Each year on March 8, the world pauses to celebrate the achievements of women while also calling for greater equality.  You can read more here.

During the past seven months of my travels, I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing women.  From India, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel & Palestine, and Jordan, I met women and girls not much different from you and me.  They go to school.  They love hanging out with their friends.  They work hard to provide for their families.  They fall in love and get married.  They become mothers.  Or, they take a different path.  They have dreams and hopes.  While many of them face challenges, they are not deterred.  They have plans for incredible futures.

During the coming months, I hope to share the stories of many of the women pictured below with you.  But, for International Women’s Day, enjoy these images of women around the world.



A girl laughs and smiles as she rings the bell at a Hindu temple in Amritsar, India.


A woman in Varanasi, India, at a ceremony down by the Ganges River.


I met a lovely group of ladies out for an afternoon together at the Red Fort in Delhi, India.


A painting of women dancing on one of the many blue houses in Jodhpur, India.


With the help of ZOE, a young woman in a rural village outside of Chennai, India, just opened her own beauty salon. Here, she proudly poses in front of the supplies she needs to do her job.


A young mother in a rural village outside of Chennai, India, shyly shows me her just weeks old baby.


This young woman recently opened a store in a rural village outside of Chennai, India. With support from ZOE, she was able to buy her first round of inventory. Right now her shop is small, but one day she hopes that it is large enough to need its own building!


A young woman who is learning to tend cows in a rural village outside of Chennai, India, shows me the calf she is taking care of. It is a learning process!



A mother with two young children stops to buy food at the market in Bhaktapur, Nepal.


A mother looks on as her daughter poses for a photo at one of the temples in Bhaktapur, Nepal.


Women hard at work in Bhaktapur, Nepal.



A woman walks down the beach with the famous Burj al Arab in the background in Dubai.


Women in Dubai out for an afternoon of shopping and fashion at one of Dubai’s many malls.


A woman pauses to buy some UAE-themed items at a shop in a souq in Old Dubai.



When snow fell in northern Israel, it was a sight to see. I was Couchsurfing with an amazing Israeli couple at the time, and they took us to see the snow. Here, Ruth (one of my hosts) and I pose for a picture as we explored the winter wonderland around us!


In Bethlehem, Palestine, on Christmas Eve, a group of girls and young women in traditional garb were interviewed by a local television station out in Manger Square.


Venerated by millions around the world, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is central to the faith of so many. Here, candles are lit in prayer at St. Catherine’s Church (the location of Christmas Eve midnight mass) in Bethlehem, Palestine.


Palestinian youth parade through the streets of Bethlehem, as a part of Christmas Eve activities in the city where Jesus was born.


At the security wall built between Israel and Palestine, a painting shows a girl holding balloons to float over the wall between the two places.



At a market in Amman, Jordan, a mother and her daughter go through dolls to find just the right one.


I would like to dedicate this International Women’s Day post to a woman important in my life who passed away on December 30, 2014:  Cassie Hyatt.   Cassie is my grandmother’s sister and actually lived right next door to my grandmother so I grew up visiting her frequently.  She was always full of joy, a bright smile, and love for those around her.  Just days before her passing, she spent Christmas surrounded by family, which she had many of — two children, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren!  While I’m sad that I missed out on the last months of her life, I am happy that I had the chance to video chat with her at my grandmother’s 90th birthday party.  I’ll never forget the smile that she had on her face that day…it’s the same one that greeted me in the den of her home every time I stopped by to visit.  Cassie, you are and will continue to be missed!

Cassie, my grandmother, and my younger sister at my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration last October. I’m thankful to have such wonderful women in my life!


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