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Images of Empowerment

Hewlett Foundation, Getty Images and WIEGO Make Women’s Informal Work Visible in New Photography Resource

MENLO PARK, Calif.—A new collection of photographs released today by the William and Flora Hewlett FoundationGetty Images Reportage, and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) provides more than 1,000 high-quality, editorial images of the ways women work, often in informal and invisible jobs, in six countries around the world.

The collection shows women cleaning homes, collecting recyclables, sewing garments, and selling goods in local markets in Colombia, Ghana, India, Peru, South Africa, and Thailand. Their work is often informal and outside state regulations or protections. The photographs are available free of charge to noncommercial users, as well as for licensing to Getty Images’ global customer base of creative agencies, businesses, news organizations, and other editorial clients.

(PHOTO ABOVE: ACCRA, GHANA: Market vendor Vida Ofori stands proudly at her tomato stand in the Makola Market. Vida began trading at an early age, following in her parents’ footsteps, and now shares a stall with her sister, demonstrating the generational and family aspects of vending in the informal economy. Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage)

The project is funded through the Hewlett Foundation’s global development and population program, which has a longstanding commitment to expand women’s choices, including their opportunities to earn a living and choose whether and when to have a family. Yet images of this kind of work, particularly in developing countries, often focus on poverty and need rather than women in decision-making roles, earning income, and supporting their families and communities.

The men and women in the photographs are members of informal worker organizations affiliated with WIEGO, a Hewlett Foundation grantee that helps improve the lives of informal workers and their families. Photos were captured by photojournalists Jonathan Torgovnik, Paula Bronstein, and Juan Arredondo of Getty Images Reportage and join the existing Hewlett-supported Getty Images collection depicting women in Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda accessing reproductive health care information and services.

Rhonda Douglas, Global Projects Director for WIEGO, said “Most people are surprised to learn that informal employment is more than half of non-agricultural employment in most developing regions.  Informal is the new normal, and these photos highlight the immense contributions of informal workers as they go about their daily lives. The dignity of individual workers shines through in every photo.”

“We’re pleased to partner with Getty Images and WIEGO to show the many ways women are working to support themselves and their families in ways that are often unseen,” said Hewlett Foundation Program Officer Helena Choi. “When we traveled with WIEGO members last year, I remarked that you can’t ‘unsee’ the incredibly hard work these women are doing every day. These high-quality images will help nonprofits share these women’s stories and make their lives—and importantly, their work—visible.”

Getty Images, the global leader in visual communications, is guided by the belief that imagery can change the world and is committed to shifting the visual representation of women in media. Two years ago, the company launched an award-winning partnership with LeanIn.Org to create the Getty Images Lean In Collection, a curation of powerful, realistic images of women, girls and the communities who support them.

“At Getty Images, we believe it is our privilege and duty to surface human stories to the world, something we are able to do through the immense talent of our award-winning photojournalists,” said Aidan Sullivan, Vice President of Photo Assignments and Editorial Partnerships at Getty Images.

“We are committed to helping shift the representation of women in visual communications to more accurately reflect the world around us, and are proud to extend our partnership with the Hewlett Foundation to help bring attention to the important work carried out daily by women around the world.”

In addition to the full image set, Getty Images has published a narrated photo essay—Making Women’s Work Visible—that features the images and perspectives from the collection’s photographers.

Jonathan Torgovnik captured images of women selling goods in the markets in Accra, Ghana and said most of them “have a sense of pride that they have an independent business and provide for their families.” And he “was quite surprised to see how organized and unified the workers are” to resolve issues.

The images are available at, where they are licensed under Creative Commons.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helps people build measurably better lives, concentrating its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, as well as grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. On the web:

About Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO):  
Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is a global action research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. It does so by highlighting the informal economy through improved statistics and research; by helping to strengthen member-based organizations of informal workers; and by promoting policy dialogues and processes that include informal workers. Visit for more information.

About Getty Images:
Getty Images is the most trusted and esteemed source of visual content in the world, with over 200 million assets available through its industry-leading sites and The Getty Images website serves creative, business and media customers in almost 200 countries and is the first place people turn to discover, purchase and share powerful content from the world’s best photographers and videographers. Getty Images works with over 200,000 contributors and hundreds of image partners to provide comprehensive coverage of more than 130,000 news, sport and entertainment events, impactful creative imagery to communicate any commercial concept and the world’s deepest digital archive of historic photography. 

Visit Getty Images at to learn more about how the company is advancing the unique role of still and moving imagery in communication and business, and enabling creative ideas to come to life. For company news and announcements, visit our Press Room, and for the stories and inspiration behind our content, visit Stories & Trends.

Find Getty Images on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Contact: Sarah Jane Staats, Hewlett Foundation,, 650-234-4741

Demetria Tsoutouras, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing,, 613-882-3364

Jenna Markovich, Getty Images,

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