UN Women Asked Artists To Create Cartoons Depicting Gender Equality. Here Are The Results…

Now here’s an awesome way of finding out how people from around the world view gender equality!

UN Women together with the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and UNRIC organized a Comic and Cartoon Competition on Gender Equality in 2015. The competition invited young European comic and cartoon artists and art students, aged 18 to 28 years, to picture their understanding of women’s rights and gender equality through cartoons and comics.

The comics and cartoons had to be without words. Finalists were selected by a jury composed of professional comic artists, gender equality experts and communication experts.

It is part of their 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. 2015 marks two decades since Hillary Clinton gave her famous speech at the inaugural event dedicated to gender equality worldwide, where she said “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

You’d think that in the span of 20 years, the world would’ve made incredible strides toward gender equality, but the truth is while there has been progress, there isn’t one country that has reached 50/50 equality socially, politically or economically.

In 1995 a total of 189 countries pledged to work toward equality, but as revealed by a recent study, there is a long way to do. We should point out there are many countries who have worked hard to criminalize certain acts of violence toward women which weren’t previously, including rape within marriage in India.

To show just how different the views on gender equality are, take a look at the winners of the UN Women competition below and the reasons each artist chose to draw what they did. What surprised us was the amount of male artists who entered and won the top prizes! A first and second place winner was awarded, and multiple 3rd place winners were announced.

1st Place Winner – Emilio Morales Ruiz, Spain

“Gender equality is an undeniable right. Gender inequality is thus a reality that we need to end immediately. Gender inequality is still visible today. Even the smallest acts are important steps for solving this global problem,” said Emilio about his cartoon.


2nd Place Winner – David Ibáñez Bordallo, Spain

“Gender inequality represents one of the biggest challenges of our times. As a teacher, I believe in the power of education to change things. I hope that with proper education, creativity, and sense of responsibility future generations will be able to move more strongly in solving this and other problems that compromise sustainability and human happiness: I firmly believe in children’s superpowers to overcome barriers that currently seem almost impossible to overcome,” he said.

“I wanted to represent everything involves with gender equality in the simplest, concise and direct way was possible, and at the same time it should be understandable for any language, culture and age… [What] I wanted to communicate is that if everyone just with a little gesture can help to stop gender inequality,” he told Bustle in a separate interview.


3rd Place Winner – Samuel Akinfenwa Onwusa, Spain

“Gender equality is a very important challenge and inextricably linked to education. Regardless of gender or ethnicity, we are all human beings and therefore equal in all the most important aspects. Gender equality is a goal that has to be set in the minds of people, especially children, to thrive peace and harmony,” said Samuel.

“My comic reflects the rejection and intolerance that is given to women in job interviews, ignoring the education or knowledge they have for the position,” he said about his cartoon.


3rd Place Winner – Aleksi Siirtola, Finland

“I have always identified as a feminist. I think gender equality is one of the most important goals for society to attain, and one that benefits us all. My picture depicts how women can work toward equality without compromising who they are. The goal of equality is universal,” he said about his cartoon.

“Using the legendary Rosie the Riveter in a universal context felt like such a powerful idea that I decided to make it my submission to the contest,” he told Bustle.



3rd Place Winner – Agata Hop, Poland

“Gender equality means that men and women are able to achieve the same degree of success through an equal effort. The cartoon portrays today’s sad reality in an amusing way. While the man is riding an escalator to success, the woman has to climb the ladder carrying a lot of burden,” she said about her image.


3rd Place Winner – Aitor López García, Spain

“Gender equality means that one day we will not need to speak about equality any more. Gender inequality effects everyone – men and women alike,” he said about his cartoon.

“My inspiration is feminism from a man’s point of view. I believe that sexism also affects men… Whenever I went to a supermarket [and] saw ‘men’ on one side and ‘women and children’ on the other, I never understood,” he told Bustle.


Below are two of the Semi-Finalist entries we loved which included powerful imagery of why gender equality is still needed and the great affect it can have on the future generations.

Olga Schikunov, Germany



Laurence Herfs, The Netherlands




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