Empowerment of women is one of the key topics of societies around the globe. It is relevant not only from an ethical and moral perspective. It activates one of the largest sources of untapped human capital we have. Portraying this topic visually through the eye of a man was a fascinating opportunity with unknown outcome. The idea was developed together with the famous and award-winning National Geographic photographer John Stanmeyer who led an international workshop on visual storytelling in Tbilisi.
In summer 2016 my Georgian co-author, Magda Mariamidze, and I met and interviewed incredible women of all social classes as well as men. The work was truly rewarding and full of personal insights about human fears, hopes, and ways to find happiness. We saw the empowerment of women and the changing role of men as connecting pipes. A zero sum game, where one wins and the other loses, cannot be successful. Sustainable empowerment of women requires parallel development of the men’s role – together, not against each other. We hope our portraits of empowered women motivate others to follow these examples in order to live the life they want and not automatically the one they are borne or forced into. This will be beneficial for the society as a whole.
Michael Heidecker is an international entrepreneur and photographer living in Hamburg, Germany. Magda Mariamidze is a professional translator and assistant for journalists, photographers, and business people coming to Georgia.