New exhibition pays tribute to women of Sierra Leone

To coincide with the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, a new photography exhibition documenting the tragically short life expectancy of women across Sierra Leone has opened

We tend to take it for granted that we can enjoy the same rights as men. We can vote, we can work, we can be educated to a high level and live a long and healthy life. But this isn’t the case for all women.

To explore the shocking statistic that a woman’s life expectancy in Sierra Leone is in the mid-40s, and to coincide with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the International Slavery Museum hosts 42 Women of Sierra Leone, a moving and powerfully beautiful photography exhibition by photojournalist Lee Karen Stow.

Stow, who was about to turn 42 herself, was horrified to learn of the short life expectancy of these women, compared to the UK average life expectancy of 83. She set about documenting it with her camera.


‘Despite positive steps to improve women’s lives in the developing world, too many women still suffer immense hardshipand despair,’ says Lee Karen Stow. ‘My aim for the exhibition is to show that these women, and women in similar circumstances, should be given the right to live, not die.’

For over four years, freelance writer and photographer, Stow visited the capital of Sierra Leone in Freetown and saw the hardship of these women for herself. She captured the raw emotions of women carrying out their daily lives at home, work, and with their families.

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’42 aims to show the beauty, spirit, hope and the value to society of women not just in Sierra Leone, but women everywhere, who wake each morning with the belief that one day, life really will get better,’ she adds.

Lee Karen Stow’s inspirational and moving collection incorporates 42 colour photographs capturing joy, courage and the stoic hope of the women she encountered.

The exhibition is being held at the International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock, between 5 March – 15 April. Admission is free. For further details, take a look at their website.


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