This year, As Equals, CNN's global gender reporting team, has endeavored to resist reactionary reporting. We've slowed right down. Our journalism has sought not just to report or describe what is happening to women and gender non-conforming people around the world, but to explore why various oppressions and inequalities persist — and why, in some cases, they are getting worse.
Photography has been an essential tool for us in doing this work, but in an image-saturated world, and in industries — journalism and, more specifically, photojournalism — that are still dominated by men, it is important to continue to question what it is we need to see and who gets to capture the world that we see.
This photo gallery, produced in collaboration with Women Photograph, helps to broaden what we think of as news stories worth telling, and gives a platform to more women storytellers and image makers.
As the year draws to a close, I hope these stunning images, and the captions in the photographers' own words — edited for brevity and clarity — will help you reflect on not just the pain and struggle of 2021, but also the moments of joy and the beauty that were also always present.