UN Women—together with the European Commission, Belgium, France, Mexico, as well as in partnership with Cartooning for Peace—organized a global comic and cartoon competition to mark the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
More than 1200 young artists between 18 and 28 years old, from more than 120 countries, participated in the contest and submitted their cartoons to share their vision of #GenerationEquality. Finalists were selected by a jury composed of professional comic artists, high-level representatives and gender equality experts, and a youth activist.
This competition was an opportunity for young people around the world to raise their voices using art as a powerful and universal means of expression. The “Generation Equality: Picture It” competition was also the chance to become part of the global movement for gender equality in the context of the Generation Equality Forum, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico.
The comics of the finalists and semi-finalists will be virtually exhibited during the Forum in Paris, and more exhibitions around the world are expected in the second half of 2021. Stay tuned for more!
The winners are:
- First Prize: Brice Tadé Tangou (Cameroon)
- Second Prize: Hiroshi Reyes (Philippines)
- Third Prizes:
The semi-finalists are:
- Esther Aghotor (Nigeria)
- Rika Asakawa (Japan)
- Shari Avendaño Rojas (Venezuela)
- Andrea Cabrera (Honduras)
- Shirin Fatollahi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
- Gabriela Leann Angeles (Philippines)
- Noa Poljak (Croatia)
- Mpho Tsuene (Lesotho)
Brice Tadé Tangou, Cameroon
Tadé Tangou Brice, 22, is an architecture student at the École Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Passionate about drawing since he was a child, he excelled in competitions since secondary school. While studying architecture, he continued to distinguish himself by winning silver (2018) and bronze (2019) medals in drawing at University. In January 2020, he designed the mascot for the CHAN Cameroon 2020 (African Nations Football Championship). In January 2021, he was one of the 5 designers selected for the Coca-Cola #Opentobetter illustration competition on the Talenthouse website.
About my cartoon: Perched above the world! Women and girls as actors and builders of an equal world over which they watch and deploy their full potential.
Why Generation Equality: #GenerationEquality reminds us of the important value of women’s and girls’ contribution to society when their rights are respected; it symbolizes a just, sharing world where everyone contributes to equality; it sets out the actions to be taken by all to achieve this. #GenerationEquality also represents the possibility for everyone to participate in different spheres of society without discriminatory barriers; #GenerationEquality is also the respect for gender equality in all areas. It means equal opportunities, the end of violence, harassment, and prejudice against women.
Hiroshi Reyes, Philippines
Hiroshi Reyes was born in 2002 in Manila, Philippines and graduated his senior high school year at University of Perpetual Help. He’s currently studying Multimedia Arts at St. Dominic College of Asia. Growing up, Hiroshi always had a passion for the arts. He recalls the days his parents would get mad at him for drawing on the walls of their house, or when he would get caught doodling on his books by his teachers. Hiroshi has never won an art competition before but that didn’t stop him from submitting his drawing.
About my cartoon: The “damsel in distress” is an overused sexist trope against women. Women are just as capable of doing anything than men. Stereotypes also impact men, with for instance toxic masculinity. Men are always expected to be “big, strong and save the day”, when, in reality, they can be the ones who need saving.
Why Generation Equality: It means that my mom and my sister don’t have to worry about being harassed. It means that I do not have to worry about being the subject of toxic masculinity and it means that everyone—no matter race, gender, ethnicity, or religion are given equal opportunities!
Contact: Instagram: Smileforsho
Vivien Derkics, Hungary
Vivien Derkics was born in 2001 in Szombathely, Hungary. She studied graphic design at an art school for 5 years and will soon begin her graduate studies at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam where she will study advertising. Meanwhile, she does freelance work related to graphic design and illustration. So far, most of her projects focused on global issues and finding ways to communicate them via art. For this reason, the topic of gender equality was close to her heart and motivated her to participate in this competition.
About my cartoon: My cartoon illustrates women in power and decision-making. I believe that if we work together, we can create change and build a world in which we are proud to live.
Why #GenerationEquality: I believe Generation Equality should be the norm. However, unfortunately, today, we know that this is still not the case. I wish to live in a world where this question shouldn’t even need to arise. In my view, all humans are equal and deserve the same rights—this is how it should always have been.
Contact: Portfolio: https://www.vivienderkics.com/
Baraka Lurhakwa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Baraka Lurhakwa, alias Baraka Création, is a scriptwriter, illustrator, and graphic designer, born in 2000 in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Passionate about drawing, he drew his first comic book in 6th grade. In 2016, he launched a comic strip called Makasi, which tells the story of a disabled child forced to survive despite the discrimination he faces. In 2017, he obtained his state diploma in biochemistry but decided to focus on his artistic career. In 2019, he won the first prize in a drawing competition organised by the Red Cross. He is currently studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in the Visual Communication faculty in Goma.
About my cartoon: My drawing expresses the importance of freedom of decision and more specifically the right of women and girls to live free of violence. In my country, many women and girls are forced to marry men at an early age and without their consent. This must stop with my generation.
Why #GenerationEquality: All humans are born equal. The world needs Generation Equality to become aware and understand that every person, regardless of gender, has the right to enjoy the same rights. Sometimes, people say that to be a leader, you have to be a man. But when you analyse this statement, you realise that there is no logic to it: it is only a stereotype that has been perpetuated since our childhood. It is time to break from these stereotypes; and this is possible with Generation Equality. To me, Generation Equality means that there should be no more barriers because of gender.
Facebook: Baraka Creation
Femi Ogunsanmi, Nigeria
Femi Philemon Ogunsanmi is an illustrator with five years of experience in graphic design and illustration. He was born in 1995 in Abuja, Nigeria and later moved to Lagos. He studied Sculpture at Yaba College of Technology, in Lagos, with special enthusiasm for digital sculpting. With his creative ideas, he won a competition in school that was sponsored by a reputable brand. Femi is presently the lead illustrator at Teesas EduTech Company in Lagos.
About my cartoon: Like the battery needs both terminals to function, every sphere of life needs to harness its human resources regardless of their gender, in order to reach maximum productivity.
Why #GenerationEquality: Every individual is designed with special abilities, gifts, and talents. Everyone, regardless of their gender, has the right to equal opportunity to make use of such abilities. Generation Equality is needed to fully harness the potential in every human for a better and productive society. I see Generation Equality as valuing every individual and giving them equal opportunities to make the most of their lives and abilities, as this would enhance growth and productivity in every sector.
Esther Aghotor, Nigeria
Esther Aghotor is a self-taught artist based in Abuja, Nigeria. She holds a bachelor degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Ibadan. In her work, she shows the potentiality of females through temporal perspectives and discerning. She won the first prize award at the Olusegun Obasanjo Library National Art competition in 2013 for her artwork, The Face of Unity, interpreting the beauty of collaboration for development. She won the Next Rated Star Art prize in 2016 for her artworks “A Chance of Survival” and “Sign of a Victory”, focused on a better life for domestic violence victims.
About my cartoon: It enunciates the blindness and limitation embedded in gender chauvinism, and the apparent clarity and potential of gender collaboration, attainable only through empowerment of the genders, for equal representation in decision making and vision setting towards the development of a people or nation. Away from the typical late onset and one-sided agitation for gender equality, it is a depiction of the necessity for the balanced collaboration of the genders as a guarantee of success and achievability towards any vision.
Why #GenerationEquality: #GenerationEquality means a new people and mindset with no gender-biased perspective when it comes to opportunities, empowerment and development. Complementary between genders ensures a better balance for society. To reach equality, parents will need to equip girls and boys with the same confidence, skills and mindset in facing the world and make efforts to ensure equity in giving equal opportunities and resources. In addition, legal frameworks are needed to enforce equality and they should be implemented and monitored by authorities.
Rika Asakawa, Japan
Rika Asakawa is an illustrator and animator based in Tokyo, Japan. Using a set of skills ranging from comical to more serious styles, Rika has worked on projects for large audiences including children. Her work includes animations, card games, comics, book illustrations, wall paintings, and more. She has won multiple awards for cartoons from Japanese publishers and in the animation field. Rika’s recent caricature work on feminism in Japan was published in 2019 by the Courrier International. She was selected as an Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund member in 2021.
About my cartoon: Women’s participation in the world of work is challenging because of family duties and also because sometimes, older men do not leave their leadership positions and hold on tight. I wish they could take a look down to have a glimpse of reality.
Why #GenerationEquality: Japan’s social balance is highly biased in terms of gender and age. This inequality is greatly due to care responsibilities which burden women, such as housework, childcare, and childbirth. My mother was busy raising children and housework and therefore could not work. My father never helped with housework and childcare. I always thought that our environment and task distribution was natural. But as an adult, after seeing how women can manage their lives, I think my family’s example was probably not the best. For me, Generation Equality is to ensure women are able to work and have equal opportunities as men, regardless of their life paths and family-related decisions.
Shari Avendaño Rojas, Venezuela
Shari Avendaño (1995) is a Venezuelan journalist and illustrator. She graduated with honors from the School of Social Communication of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. She works as a reporter and fact-checker for the news portal Efecto Cocuyo (Venezuela) and has participated in the coverage of the economic crisis and human rights violations. She is a member of the Latin American Network of Young Journalists. As an illustrator, she has collaborated with news platforms and NGOs in Venezuela and Latin America.
About my cartoon: My cartoon is inspired by the people who helped me believe in myself and grow: my parents, teachers and trainers. However, the presence of parents and teachers in the girls’ lives is not enough, it also takes a lot of passion to inspire them to fly.
Why #GenerationEquality: In my view, Generation Equality symbolizes a future in which no family member, friend or colleague has been a victim of sexism. In particular, it is a future in which I feel respected when I go out on the street alone. We need Generation Equality so that justice prevails over nepotism in institutions, so that no girl or woman feels limited in their abilities and so that the voice of women is heard more and more in decision-making bodies.
Andrea Cabrera, Honduras
Andrea Cabrera is a designer and visual artist from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Since she was a child, she showed great interest and aptitude for art and always wanted to pursue a creative career. She obtained her bachelor in Fashion Design with a specialization in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA. She now does freelance artwork in her hometown and plans to continue her higher education.
About my cartoon: Equality is a job that must be done in unity.
Why #GenerationEquality: Often, when we speak about gender equality, there are negative reactions because people do not know what gender equality really is. Generation Equality is not about giving more benefits to one gender over the other. It is about equal opportunities we should have as capable human beings regardless of our gender. Gender inequality is a long-standing problem in which we have all participated, whether it is through sexist or stereotypical remarks or deliberately taking away opportunities from someone because of their gender. It is a problem that can be eradicated with time, education and by working together. We all deserve respect and equal opportunities, taking into account our strengths and abilities.
Portfolio: https://www.behance.net/acartstudio, https://acabreraart.wixsite.com/home
Shirin Fatollahi, Islamic Republic of Iran
Shirin Fatollahi was born in 1994, in Qazvin, Iran. She considers herself as a hardworking, conscientious illustrator with an eye for detail. She first became interested in illustration after seeing her grandmother’s painting and since then, illustration has become her biggest passion. She has taken courses with the Iran Illustrator Society and continues to learn new skills. She works with pencil, gouache, acrylic and watercolor, as well as with Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Currently, she is working with child magazines and publications.
About my cartoon: We are all different but from the same palette.
Why #GenerationEquality: I strongly believe that women should benefit from the same opportunities than their male counterparts. Women have repeatedly proven that they are equal to men. They can multi-task and have taken up highly crucial tasks in the world. For instance, many women entrepreneurs have changed the world through their efforts and imagination. Women are strong – and not just meant to change babies’ nappies! Imagine a world with gender equality: there is no longer violence against women and sexual harassment, women can safely walk even in the darkest places. Men and women would enjoy equal opportunities and equal rights.
Gabriela Leann Angeles, Philippines
Gabriela Leann Angeles, 19 years old, was born and raised in the Philippines. She lives with her family in the city of Bacoor, Cavite. Gabriela is currently in her second year of Bachelor in Multimedia Arts (BMMA), following her love, passion, and interest for arts, photography, editing, and media. The global pandemic brought new challenges to her studies as the skill-based multimedia arts program had to go virtual. Gabriela has won several awards in the field of photography and hopes to become a professional photographer, for fashion or product photography. She loves arts and creations and wants to continue developing different skills, including digital drawing and cartoon making.
About my cartoon: Grandma did not take martial art classes for nothing.
Why #GenerationEquality: Despite great progress for gender equality in our generation, there is still opposition, leading to injustice and discrimination. There are barriers holding women back and we should continue to push for generation equality, for a fair and humane system and society. Gender roles and norms are unfortunately still very present. But today, men, women, whatever gender or sexual orientation, are now standing strong, empowered, confident and bold, using their voices and platforms to speak up, fight for our rights and spread awareness. We all deserve to live in a generation where we have equality and justice. Let’s push to bring change in our society and system with legal reforms and let’s support organizations working for a generation equality.
Noa Poljak, Croatia
Noa Poljak, 22 years old, was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia. After obtaining a diploma from a foundation program in design in Malta, her passion for design and art became clear. She is now enrolled in the bachelor programme in Design at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb, Croatia. Living in different parts of Europe, she came to realize that even in the most developed regions of Europe, some movements are strongly lobbying for very conservative values, which are enabling oppression, injustice and discrimination against women. She wishes to actively take part into changing society and wants to push young people to speak up about gender equality.
About my cartoon: My illustration is focused on obstacles and pushbacks that women face when trying to advance their careers, show their achievements, and be equal to men. To equally succeed, women are expected to thrive more, be more persistent, have more knowledge, more skills and more patience than men. Their career paths and family lives are full of challenges and obstacles; therefore, I want to shine light on a problem that I have witnessed first-hand.
Why #GenerationEquality: Women are being discriminated in all aspects of public and private life, as a result of centuries dominated by men. It is urgent to improve women’s participation, redefine their roles in our societies, because the world is losing out on their potential, their power, their strengths. Progress can only be achieved if women are included in all their diversity. This is especially important for the young generation who has a unique chance to live in a world free of stereotypes, gender-based violence, prejudice, and discrimination. We, the young generation need to understand the causes of this injustice and join forces to make a change for a more equal world.
Mpho Tsuene, Lesotho
Mpho Tsuene is a visual artist and fashion enthusiast, self-described as Afri-Artivist. Mpho wishes to stand up against gender inequality and African stereotypes through her art. She was born and raised in Lesotho, where she studied art in high school. She considers herself as a jack of all trades, obsessed with self-improvement but also enjoying new experiments and dabbling in different things.
About my cartoon: My cartoon promotes the harmonisation of home responsibilities for women and men. The young girl chases her future, and her father passes her the baton, a blessing to encourage her to go after her dreams.
Why #GenerationEquality: As an African woman who believes in gender equality, I think the next generation of women and girls deserve a better future. They deserve equal pay and an end to sexual harassment among many other things. The #GenerationEquality campaign gathers feminists to challenge societal norms that harm and limit women. The aim is for young girls to grow up in a future where they do not feel inferior, incapable and where they no longer have to fight to be heard or to be in decision-making rooms.
The copyright for any drawing remains the property of the entrant. However, by submitting to the competition, entrants have granted permission to the organizing entities to use, distribute, reproduce, or otherwise utilize the drawing and the entrant’s name and city and state.