These stunning photos show the 'invisible' jobs women do around the world


When searching for stock photos of women at work, one typically finds pages of ladies in business suits, sitting behind desks. Less common are photos of women in developing nations cleaning homes, collecting waste, sewing fabric, or selling goods in local markets. Yet for millions of women across the globe, these too-often “invisible” jobs empower them and enable them to provide for their families and communities.

A new collection of photos aims to better showcase these workers. The inspiring series from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Getty Images Reportage, and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WEIGO) highlight women from six different countries engaging in work that “is often informal and outside state regulations or protections,” according to a statement, yet crucial to their well-being.

“Most people are surprised to learn that informal employment is more than half of non-agricultural employment in most developing regions,” Rhonda Douglas, the global projects director for WIEGO, said in the statement. “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.”

The photos, which are available for public use, come from India, Ghana, Thailand, South Africa, Peru, and Colombia. We’ve selected some of our favorites, but the entire collection is visually arresting and educational.




South Africa



Marisa Kabas is a Sex + Life reporter based in New York City. She loves baseball, bunnies and bagels.

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