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She Shapes Biodiversity

A photo contest to recognize women’s contributions to the environment


She Shapes Biodiversity is a photo contest that aims to celebrate women’s contributions to the environment and seeks to recognize and amplify the roles and contributions of women that can pave the way for the implementation of a gender-responsive post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This contest runs prior to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, also the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), this 7-19 December in Montreal, Canada. This timing is to put attention and generate discussion on the need for a gender-responsive global biodiversity framework, with emphasis on a stand-alone target on gender equality (Target 22) in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The proposed Target 22 is key to ensure women’s rights and gender equality in biodiversity governance is duly recognized, respected and pursued in living in harmony with nature.

#SheShapesBiodiversity will be part of Women4Biodiversity’s larger #GenderIsABiodiversityIssue campaign for a gender-responsive global biodiversity framework.


In both research and policy, women have been portrayed as victims or as vulnerable sectors of the population, as well as beneficiaries, but seldom recognized as agents of change. While there is truth to women’s vulnerability, with studies showing that women are disproportionately affected by biodiversity loss and climate change, women are also historically known to be natural resource managers for their families and communities, ensuring the latter are fed, healthy and cared for. Women from indigenous and local communities especially have traditional knowledge and practices on sustainable use of natural resources from biodiversity, and in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. The word “shapes” in “She Shapes Biodiversity” shows women as active agents of change in different actions for biodiversity – in sustainable use, conservation, restoration of biodiversity, and more.


  • No age limit
  • Participant can submit more than one entry, maximum 3 entries
  • Participant can interpret the theme “she shapes biodiversity” in the way they like, though here are some examples to give an idea:
    • Indigenous women’s and local women’s traditional knowledge and practices
    • Women on the ground – women sustainably using natural resources from biodiversity, conserving, and/or restoring biodiversity
    • Actions by women environmental defenders, women’s actions and activism for biodiversity
    • Women engaging in biodiversity policy planning and implementation
    • Transmission of natural, botanical, medicinal, agricultural, fisheries knowledge and practices from our grandmothers, mothers, and other women
    • Inspiring photos about characters linked to the environment, about stories whose protagonists are related to the environment (legends, indigenous folk tales, etc.)
  • Photo should be in PNG or JPEG format, with a resolution of maximum 10 MB in size and minimum 200 dpi (printing resolution).
  • Photo should have a title, with an accompanying story and sharing (minimum 1 paragraph) on why the woman’s/women’s contribution shown in the photo is important. Sharing can also include a poem/verse if this helps convey the message or feeling of the photo. Participant can use English, Spanish, or French for the title and accompanying story and sharing.
  • Participant should have the consent of the subject/s. Asking permission at the time the photo was taken is fine. Consent is especially needed when:
    • Subject’s face is identifiable
    • Subject is in a private setting like a ritual or meeting. Permission is needed here even if the subject’s face may not be identifiable.
  • Participant retains rights to the photo but allows Women4Biodiversity to use the photo for its communications.
  • Winners should provide their Wise account or bank details for receiving the prize money.


  • The top 15 photos will be shown in Women4Biodiversity website and social media accounts. They will also be used and/or exhibited during COP 15 this December in Montreal, Canada, where 196 nations will gather and adapt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This framework will guide each nation in their biodiversity policy for the next 30 years.
  • Photographers of the top 5 photos will receive 200 euros each.

Note: Women4Biodiversity may still use the photos of the other winners, finalists, and contestants for our other campaigns, whether in COP 15 or others.



  • Story and relevance to the theme (History and relevance to the topic). The originality in which the relationship between women and the care of nature is presented will be valued. It is here that the photographer will have the opportunity to share local realities with the world in a personal way. The textual description of the photograph will thus be key to understanding the particularities of the situation portrayed.
  • Photography technique (Objective reality). Aspects such as the framing, light, white/colour balance, focus or composition of the photograph will be considered as long as the subject in question requires it.
  • Artistic approach (Subjective reality). Creativity in capturing the idea behind the photograph will be valued. It is here where the participant shows their particular way of seeing and feeling the world and their distinctive style. Aspects such as the use of colour, movement, the symbolic use of elements such as silhouettes or objects, intentional blurs, and light painting technique will be considered as long as they reinforce the emotional part of the photograph.


Participants can submit their photos, stories, and consent form in this Google form (1 photo entry in 1 form). Deadline for submission is 24 October 2022, 5 pm UTC.

You can download the consent form here.


Announcement of finalists and winners will start third week of November. The announcements will be made here on Women4Biodiversity’s website and on Women4Biodiversity’s social media accounts (Twitter | Instagram | Facebook)


Please, help us spread the word and identify candidates for this contest by using our communications toolkit.

Share this contest using the hashtags #SheShapesBiodiversity and #GenderIsABiodiversityIssue

For inquiries, email [email protected]

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