Women in Nepal Break Rules and New Ground

by Adrienne Tooley

Meena Chaudhary – elephant rider

Beginning in 2011, photojournalist Arantxa Cedillo spent several years in Nepal. During her time in the Southeast Asian country, Cedillo heard countless stories about the discrimination women in the country faced. This sparked a project entitled “Broken Rules”, which focuses on the women of Nepal who overcame the oppression and inherent sexism of the country. Set against the beautifully hand-painted backdrops of traditional Nepalese portraiture, Cedillo’s photographs all feature strong women who were innovators and rule breakers in their fields.

Indira Ranamagar – social worker

“Usually the people wear traditional clothes and display very serious expressions,” Cedillo told NPR. “I decided to reverse that common form of portraiture, allowing each woman to represent herself, thereby opening a visual debate of what being a woman means in a changing society like Nepal.” 

Bhumkia Shrestha – politician

At first, Cedillo said it was difficult to find volunteers to pose for her project, but once she began, the project progressed naturally. An Olympic swimmer, a punk singer, an airline pilot, and Nepal’s first transgender politician, are just a few of the women who participated in the project.

Sareena Rai – punk singer

“They are symbols of resistance, courage and determination in a country that still suffers from repression and where men still have the last word,” Cedillo said to NPR. “They have also become my heroes.” 

Check out the entire series of inspiring photographs here.


Thanks to NPR & arantxacedillo.com

Images courtesy of arantxacedillo.com

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