Aiming to extend the focus beyond the negative experiences of women survivors of gender-based violence, the Empowerment Photography Project was created. The Empowerment Photography Project is a form of digital art therapy that was carried out by women in the community who have been impacted by gender-based violence. I will showcase how strong, capable and resilient Pakistani women are.


The mission of the Empowerment Photography Project is to showcase what “the strength of women” looks like from the lens and perspective of women survivors of  gender-based violence in Pakistan. This strength could be anything from one’s daily tasks to the obstacles they’re overcoming. 


Participants received a camera for a period of one week with the prompt of documenting “women’s strength”. Upon receiving the photos and descriptions, I created a thematic framework to categorize the photographs. The Empowerment Photography Project, thus, contributes to our understanding of how women in Pakistan generate the strength to play a significant role in society.

How did I created the thematic framework?

I created the thematic framework by first going through all of the photos the participants took and the captions they created. I then translated the captions that were written in Urdu and started noticing similarities and differences amongst the photos. There were emotions, stories being told, symbolism and truth being shared through them all. All the photos did, indeed, depict the strength of women, however, it wasn’t just women’s strength in general but their own strength as survivors of gender-based violence. They gave voice to their experiences and shared what represents their own strength. Upon completion of reviewing the photographs and captions, I created five themed categories to place them into: 1) To Feel, 2) Live Not Survive, 3) Growth, 4) Motherhood, and 5) Hope.

As you go through the different photos in each section, read the captions and reflect on them. Think about strength these women are revealing through their lens. What’s the strength they're showcasing? What are they displaying as signs of their strength?


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