This is 18 with The New York Times

Leen Awartani for NYT

Today is International Day of the Girl and The New York Times have launched a brand new project looking at what it means to be 18 around the world — on that cusp of childhood meets adulthood – where in many parts of the world young women will be married, while in other parts they’ll be headed off to college or university.


Girls have long been the subject of photographers’ lens — but they haven’t often been behind it.



For this project, The New York Times selected young women photographers in more than a dozen countries and asked them to document 18-year-old girls in their communities. Essentially illustrating what 18 looks like around the world — through girls’ eyes.

The project includes a bagpipe player in Iran, a girl who has survived three wars in the West Bank, a teen mother in Mississippi, and a teen bride in Bangladesh.


Shraddha Gupta for NYT
Amarachi Chukwuma for NYT
Julie Lozano for NYT
Eremaya Albrecht for NYT


Some of the girls involved in the project:

  • Mahak (pronounced: Me-hek) is a young Indian woman who wants to become a teacher, and also studies classical dance.
  • Liana is one of few women in Iran who plays the bagpipe semi-professionally; she recently performed in an all-woman show in Tehran. Under Iran’s interpretation of Islamic Rule, women or girls mustn’t sing before single-sex settings — she is also a singer.
  • Millie of Australia works in a pub and is part of an all-girls skate crew
  • Maryclare is Bronx native who just headed off to college; she wants to become a biomedical engineer.
  • Obdulia works making traditional crafts
  • Shama is married in Bangladesh and hopes to become a teacher
  • Ruby from Crouch End finishes school this year and does rhythmic gymnastics in her spare time


The outcome

  • Girls worry about things like global warming, preserving local culture and violence against women.
  • Many have hopes and dreams of changing the world for the better.
  • They love their phones — Instagram and Snapchat are among their favourite apps — but they also worry that their generation spends too much time on their phones.
  • They care about politics and social justice; they also find solace in their bedrooms and most frequently go to their parents for advice.
  • They have amazing and diverse breakfasts: homemade bread with cheese and paprika in Norway, rice and beef stew in Nigeria, Cornflakes in Kenya — with hot or cold milk.
  • “Lit” isn’t the only slang word teens use (if they’re even using it anymore). Some of our favourites include “dope”; “what’s your vibe?”; “peng” in the U.K. “top” in Russia for when something is great; and of course “goat”


To find out more, visit:

Follow The New York Times Gender team on Instagram at @nytgender (link:


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