This is Gender 2021

Entry dates: 12 October 2020 – 5 January 2021

This is Gender, the global photography competition hosted by Global Health 50/50, is back. Now in our second year, we invite photographers to share their vision of what gender looks like and to submit photographs that explore the diverse ways in which gender norms – rigid and fluid, traditional and progressive – are lived and subverted by men, women and non-binary people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has held a mirror up to society and revealed our relationship to our environments, each other and the systems in which we live. In turn, the pandemic has exposed existing social fractures and inequalities. As borders have closed and our gaze has turned inward, the pandemic has both exasperated pervasive and restrictive notions of gender roles and catalysed transformations in the gendered landscape. 

At this moment of global upheaval, lives and society at large are being impacted and changed in diverse and gendered ways. It’s now more important than ever to produce and distribute imagery that reflects the diverse realities of gender. We encourage photographers to contribute to expanding the imagery associated with the concept of gender by exploring, for example: 

    • How the landscape of work – professional, domestic, care or otherwise – is gendered
    • How gender intersects with health and wellbeing
    • How politics and commercial industries exploit gender roles and how they are challenged 
    • How gender intersects with other aspects of identities and vulnerabilities

We are particularly interested, but not exclusively, in works that contemplate these topics in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All photographic and photojournalistic forms are welcome and photographers from low- and middle-income communities and countries are particularly encouraged to participate. Winners will be decided by a panel of international experts in photography, visual culture, gender and global health.


  • £500 cash prize for first place and cash prizes available for secondary category awards. 
  • Global exposure across our platform, media partnerships and through our world-recognised annual report.
  • Opportunity to have your work featured in a curated exhibition (online if COVID-19 dicatates).
  • Opportunity to join our global photographer database and connect with organisations and individuals seeking imagery to complement their work in global health and development.
  • GH5050 certificate for outstanding depiction of gender.

How to enter

Each contestant may submit no more than two images per submission (entrants can submit up to three times) accompanied by the following elements:

  • A brief narrative on the significance of the image to the themes of the photo contest
  • Where and when the photo was taken
  • Short artist biography
  • Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions

Please read the terms and conditions in the link carefully before completing the entry. 

Submissions Close: 5th January 2021

Meet the 2021 Judging Panel

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Strategic Projects at Google and Founder/Director of Open/Ended

Read Suhair's bio

Suhair works in Strategy for Google in London. In 10 years at Google her work has mostly focused on creativity, culture, and technology (and most recently, sustainability) – she led Google Arts & Culture for the UK (among other countries) and various major global projects, and remains actively involved in the cultural space.
She is the founder of Open/Ended – a new online platform for activism in design; and currently a visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association in London.
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Founding member, African Feminist Forum and Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health

Read Jessica's bio

Jessica Horn’s work focuses on co-building knowledges, narratives, practices and resources for embodied feminist transformation. She has brought this approach to almost two decades of work across donor, governmental, NGO and movement spaces. Early in her career Jessica was nominated as a Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellow. She has since worked as a technical lead in creating ground-breaking social change initiatives. In philanthropy she worked to design models for UHAI- the first African-led fund focusing on LGBTI rights, and early ideas for FRIDA- the first global fund for young feminists. In a thought leadership role Jessica pioneered the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) Futures initiative, forecasting the future of women’s rights in Africa. She also led the creation of AIR- a practice-based initiative to reconceptualise approaches to trauma and mental health and wellbeing from an African feminist perspective, and the co-creation of the AWDF Flourish retreat for African feminist activists. Jessica is a founding member of the African Feminist Forum and is a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health. A published poet, has recently co-launched.the temple of her skin, a visual documentary project around African women’s tattooing and scarification stories.



Human rights activist and founder of

Read Esra'a's bio

Esra’a Al Shafei is a Bahraini human rights activist and founder of, a network of digital platforms that amplify under-reported and marginalized voices. Since 2017, she has served on the Board of Trustees at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit which hosts Wikipedia. Esra’a is the recipient of the “Berkman Award” from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society over the last decade”, the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity, and the “Most Courageous Media” award from Free Press Unlimited. She is the 2018 recipient of the Global Trailblazer Award from Vital Voices. In 2019, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and as a Young Leader by Asia Society.

Azu headshot


Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation  

Read Azu's bio

Azu Nwagbogu is the Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non- profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwagbogu was elected as the Interim Director/ Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa from June 2018 to August 2019. Nwagbogu also serves as Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography held in Lagos. He is the creator of Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary African Art. Nwagbogu served as a juror for the Dutch Doc, POPCAP Photography Awards, the World press Photo, Prisma Photography Award (2015), Greenpeace Photo Award (2016), New York Times Portfolio Review (2017-18), W. Eugene Smith Award (2018), Photo Espana (2018), Foam Paul Huf Award (2019), Wellcome photography prize (2019) and is a regular juror for organisations such as Lensculture and Magnum. For the past 20 years, he has curated private collections for various prominent individuals and corporate organisations in Africa. Nwagbogu obtained a Masters in Public Health from The University of Cambridge. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.

2021 Shortlisting Panel

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Rochelle Burgess

University College London


Ayesha Ahmad

St George’s, University of London


Imogen Bakelmun 

Global Health 50/50

Judging criteria

The judging panel of international experts will assess the works based on two separate categories.

Visual merit and creativity:

  • Strong visual impact
  • Thoughtful, considered composition and framing
  • Use of colour (or intentional lack of colour) and creativity

Storytelling and perspective:

  • Clear link to gender and/or health
  • Strong story behind the image
  • Unique perspective on the subject

About This is Gender 

This is Gender 2021 builds on the momentum of our inaugural photography competition in which we received over 400 submissions from 53 countries across 7 regions of the world and received global praise and international coverage, including major coverage and photo essay feature in the Guardian.

Explore last year’s submissions and coverage here.