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Photographer makes us care about women around the world (PHOTOS)

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Being a woman is a complicated affair.

Allison Joyce is an award-winning photojournalist who is dedicating her career to turning her lens on the feminine experience, with the hope of distilling all the complexities of her subjects into one common truth: We are all women. We are all our sisters' keepers.

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

"Whether I'm working with rape survivors in India, climate change in Bangladesh or with an NGO in Haiti, the intent is the same: to put a human face on abstract issues or faraway news, to make people take notice and care, because with that comes change," Joyce says. "The idea and intent behind my portrait work and all the photojournalism I do is to tell a story and motivate people to care."

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

Joyce isn't one to shy away from a messy and volatile topic. She tackled abortion with a poignant and unflinching look at women from all walks of life, sharing their experience in having an abortion and how they feel about it today.

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

Now she's in Bangladesh, living amongst a group of girls between the ages of 10 and 14, who work selling trinkets and snacks in Cox's Bazar to earn money to support their true passions — surfing and skateboarding. In a devout Muslim country ranked second in the world for child marriage, you can imagine these girls are raising some eyebrows.

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

"As the girls are getting older, some of them are being harassed on the street or on the beach during work, and their parents have been pushing for some of them to wed or [to] get more 'appropriate' work as domestic workers," Joyce says. "In a conservative Muslim country, it's very uncommon to see these very outgoing, spunky girls learning to surf and skateboard. These girls know that there's another way than the traditional conservative lifestyle that they see women around them living in their villages and communities."

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

What do the girls of the Cox Bazar Lifesaving and Surf Club want? Safe and dignified work, an education and to delay marriage until they're adults. Something every woman wants and should have the right to access.

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

Joyce plans to live with the girls for a few years to continue to document their experience.

Allison Joyce and her surfer girls show us what all women have in common

Image: Allison Joyce

Joyce has also worked to help launch a GoFundMe to help the girls get one healthy meal per day and safe transportation to and from work, just in case you'd like to help support these surfer girls.

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