Calling on all Ugandan women photographers

Remember last year’s Uganda Press Photo Awards? We do, because there were no women there and we agonised for months after about this.

We sent an email to UPPA asking the submission process and if they were actively worried about the gender imbalance. It is not on them, but without deliberate conversations around this, I am not sure what the future for my little friend Hellen wants to pursue photojournalism as a career.

Photo credit: Hellen (8)

Hellen might decide against photography, and she is at liberty to choose whatever career she wants but it shouldn’t be because she is a girl and she sees no women credited on the front page pictures of the local dailies.

Anna Kućma, of UPPA, responded to our emails saying that as a woman she was concerned about the gender imbalance as well, and she did not understand why photography was a male dominated profession “because female photographers regularly produce amazing work but somehow more men get into the profession than women.” The submission process was open to everyone and was advertised for both Ugandan professional photographers as well as photo enthusiasts. She did not tell us how many female entrants were there but that there were some.

Look at the list of the 2013 winners:

Drake Ssentongo – The Uganda Press Photo of the Year and 1st Prize News
Abubaker Lubowa – 2nd Prize News
Jjumba Martin – 1st Prize Daily Life
Simon Naulele – 2nd Prize Daily Life
Abubaker Lubowa – 3rd Prize Daily Life
Papa Shabani – Honourable Mention Daily Life
Abdul Kinyenya Muyingo – Honourable Mention Daily Life
Michael Nsubuga – 1st Prize Sport
Papa Shabani – 2nd Prize Sport
Kibibi Emmanuel – 3rd Prize Sport
Matthias Mugisha – 1st Prize Nature
Matthias Mugisha – 2nd Prize Nature
Emmanuel Ibolit – 3rd Prize Nature
Eddie Ssejjoba – 1st Prize Portrait
David Gonahas – 2nd Prize Portrait
Abubaker Lubowa – 3rd Prize Portrait
Papa Shabani – Honorable Mention Portrait
Enock Kakande – Honorable Mention Portrait
Drake Ssentongo – 1st Prize Story
Paul Watala – 2nd Prize Story
Abdul Kinyenya Muyingo – 3rd Prize Story
Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar – Honorable Mention Story

No women.

We made a call later on our Facebook page, as we continued to email around.

We have not found that many. We are creating an archive and so far, we have: Maria Wamala, Rachel Mabala, Verone AkankundaTessa Lwanga and our very wonderful ally, Jacqueline Auma who took pictures for Mon pi Mon at TEDxNakaseroWomen.

The UPPA judging process was blind, and while there was discussion about the lack of women, Anna said they came to the conclusion that “the responsibility lies more with training and industry expectations and conditions than with a merit-based competition.”

It doesn’t have to be a protest coverage and you don’t have to be teargassed (being a photojournalist includes a lot of physical threat). We want to hear from, and about, Ugandan women that are active photographers.

And while we are creating an archive of Ugandan women photographers, we would like to highlight this opportunity here:

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce the call for entries for the 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant which will provide a $25,000 grant for a project to be produced on a significant issue involving and affecting women anywhere in the world.

The Alexia Foundation’s main purpose is to encourage and help photojournalists create stories that drive change. While our traditional grant guidelines put no limits on the subject matter for grant proposals, a number of proposals about women’s rights in the last few years have been so powerful that we have been compelled to create a grant specifically on issues relating to women.

The deadline for submission is June 30, 2014 at 2p.m. EST.

We will notify the winner by email or telephone by Sept. 1, 2014.

The winner will have six months or until March 1, 2015 to complete the project. [Read more here]

*All images included are hyperlinked to their original URL.

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