Women of Power
Photojournalism project by Yana Binaev

On this day of the year when all the women in the world are celebrated, we are proud to stand taller and stronger than ever before.

In ‘Women of Power’, Yana Binaev reflects the everyday simplicity of strong women. Those women who dare and go towards what they believe in. With a refreshing eye and an empathetic view, Yana created a striking project, full of colours and reflections of life. Fears and everyday struggles sided with hope and strength, showing the reader that everything is possible.  

“I believe we are all born with talents and abilities that are unique only to each one of us. The question is what does each one of us chooses to do with these abilities. Throughout my life, I have witnessed people daring to discover themselves to different levels of depth and following their dreams only to a certain extent. In most cases, not allowing themselves to reach their full potential out of fear.

‘Women of Power’ aims to tell the personal and professional stories of eleven courageous women who decided to change their destinies and follow their dreams in spite of all difficulties. My aim in this project was to break the illusion that successful roads are smooth and shiny. Very often, those who watch from the side, forget about the hard reality that stands behind almost every successful story.

Each one of the women is portrayed with five meaningful items of her choice through which she chooses to share her story. ‘Women of Power’ project to break the stigma of a “superpower” that strong women have and demonstrate how simple and courageous women are. While documenting and interviewing these eleven amazing women, I have discovered they have many things in common, but one that unites them all – what matters to them the most is people, their community, those who are around them. A simple coincidence or a leadership characteristic? In both cases, all of them value and build meaningful relationships around them.” – Yana Binaev, on ‘Woman of Power’.

This project can be seen in full, here. 

Yazzie Min – Activist and Founder of Stand for Humanity

I am a woman of Indian descent, living in the UK. I feel as my feet are in two worlds and it feels like a super power. My work is dedicated to that. I am a poet, a dancer, a speaker and a life coach, I am a founder of a humanitarian movement and an activist. I have genuine love for humans and I spend my life using whatever part of me and whatever form of creativity that I can to help us remember our power as individuals to make change.

My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be, Strongly build your own foundation within yourself. Be your own cheerleader. Your own source of self-belief rather than relying on other people. Not matter what people will say, you can always say, “yes, but I believe in me”. Nurture your self- belief, doing stuff you love.

Anushka Sharma – Founder of Naaut

I am an explorer, about to go on the biggest adventure of my life. I feel that my journey has only just begun and the time is now. I set up Nauut as in Astronaut, which is really underlying for the work that I have done in the past four years in the space sector. It’s driven by a lifelong passion. I am all about innovation and technology. I dream about the possibilities that there are for us as humans. Naaut is about taking technology that is space technology and applying it to benefit everyone else.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
Be brave, and if you can’t be brave just tell yourself to be brave. There is so much power in having a word with yourself and even if you feel scared, have a quiet word with yourself.

Pip Jamieson – Founder and CEO of The Dots

Dyslexic, Sole Female Founder who founded The Dots. I passionately believe in the business that I am building. I started The Dots because I believe in a different way of work. LinkedIn was designed around this very corporate, traditional, CV based career way. When I was working in MTV, people who freelance and have different side hustles surrounded me. I never believed that wearing a white suit and having a fat cheque could buy happiness. I wanted to create a platform where we celebrated each other’s differences. I believe in building The Dots for that next generation, in a professional network that is built around deeper values.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
I am a non-techy person who started a business. If I can do it, anyone can do it. It has all been just a learning curve. If you are passionate about something and work hard, you can learn anything. I have now a portfolio of mentors that help in specific areas. Branding, communication, raising investment, tech. It’s about taking their advice and working out what’s the right path for you.

Samira Musa- Producer and Co-Founder of The Creative Roots

I am a creative storyteller and a producer. What matters to me the most became a part of who I am. I direct all around businesswomen. If you invest in people that will give you a better sense of self-worth. The drive and the tenacity of the creative industry inspire me. Many creatives spend a lot of their time with no money, nowhere to live sometimes, hustling so many worlds. An industry that sometimes isn’t looked upon as profitable, is actually profitable.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
 I would like to say that it is not easy. There are times when you really doubt yourself, your ability, your drive. There are people who are brought in to support you in that struggle and in that time and if you don’t have those people, search for them. Don’t close the door.

Deborah Okenla – Founder and CEO of YSYS

I am the Founder and CEO of YSYS, which stands for Your Start-up, Your Story. We are a start-up community of entrepreneurs, innovators, marketers, and investors on a mission to make change. What we do is we mobilize and engage our community to work towards eco system transformation within the start-up community, which mainly is diversity, inclusion and social change.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
the thing that you think makes you awkward is actually your super power. What you think makes your different and unique – zoom straight into it. Super powers are meant to be unique.

 

Kike Oniwide – Founder and CEO of BYP Network

I am a 26 years old British – Nigerian who wants to change the world. That ’s all that I want to say. My hardest moment was when I was at the University of Nottingham. I was supposed to go to Harvard University but because everything turned out last minute and I wouldn’t have been able to start until I finished Nottingham. In the second year I fractured my back, lost my coach, my grades were terrible, as my identity was focused on sports, it was a very hard time. I remember I was walking up the hill and I just made a decision to give my everything to get back on track. I worked so hard, I don’t think I ever worked that hard. I managed to get my scholarship to Florida. It was the moment when I realized I can do anything I put my mind on.

 My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be, Step outside of your comfort zone. If you have an idea, step outside and speak about it. Your ideas are valid and you do matter. If you see a problem, you are the one that should fix it. Just go forward with that no matter what the risks are.

Milana Karaica – Founder of NERD Productions

I always seek. Whether it is creative, talent, opportunities, answers. I look for things. I am an observer. I like to empower people to be the best version of themselves. Family inspires me. I don’t necessary mean your blood family. For me it’s my immediate family, my dearest closest friends and my work family because we spend so much time together and always have each other’s back.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
Because of all the pressure we are under, we are forever trying to fit into a box. Even on paper, we are immediately fit into a box and categorized. Every form we fill out categorizes us into Black, White, Mixed or other. Later it starts being about a social class and so on. We try so hard to fit into these boxes instead of giving the value to the special things that each one of us brings along. We try to fit in so much. After all these years I have realized it’s ok to be different.

Claudine Adeyemi – Founder of Career Ear

I am a young, Black, ambitious woman, who is passionate about impact, particularly in relation to young people, but also has a weird geeky side and interested in the law. Nothing really scares me. I am here to deliver my purpose and be the best version of me, and I really believe that everything happens for a reason. I take each day as it comes.

 

My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be, Do something. Find something that you are passionate about and do something about it. No matter how small it is.

 

Mansata Kurang – Founder and CEO of VR Revival

I am from Gambia, West Africa. My background is creative technologies and I am very passionate about using technology to help with dementia and mental health issues in Africa and the UK. People unlocking their full potential is what matters to me the most. Especially young people.


My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be,
I have this belief, you can see it, you can be it. It’s important to have a role model.

Rachael Corson – Co-Founder of Afrocenchix

I am a Ghanaian – Londoner. I run a small company and I write science fiction. I get a lot of inspiration from nature and from stories, hearing what people have been through and how they overcame it. My children inspire me, I love seeing how everything excites them. Seeing how everything is happening in nature even when no one is watching, unlike most things in our society. It reminds me of how things don’t need to be watched to be valuable.

My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be, There are no super women; everyone who has achieved anything has failed a lot trying so many things. I think that if you want to achieve anything and make the world a better place, then know that there are going to be failures. My message will be, keep going. Stay humble and keep going, there is always so much more you can do.

 

 

Nim Haas – Head of Marketing at Global Processing Services

I am a multicultural mess and I think that my background and the way I grew up, is what enabled me to embrace diversity. I am originally Thai and I was adopted by chance. The girl my parents came to adopt, they thought at that time that she died, only many years after we found out that, she was alive but that’s another story. My adoptive dad is German and my adoptive mother is originally half Moroccan, half Spanish-Turkish with Jewish origins.

My message to other young women who aspire to be doing what I’m doing would be, Believe in yourself, there will be good days and bad days. Even in the bad days continue believing in yourself and be passionate about what you are doing. Always know there will be someone who is actually looking up to you.

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