Earlier this year, UN Women, in conjunction with the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and UNRIC, announced a Comic & Cartoon Competition on Gender Equality. It invited young European comic and cartoon artists and art students, aged 18 to 28, to illustrate their understanding of women’s rights and gender equality… without words. Finalists were selected by a jury of professional comic artists, gender equality experts and communication experts.

And the winners are…

First Place Winner: Emilio Morales Ruiz, Spain

UNWomen_comic_1st_Emilio Ruiz

Emilio was born in Huelva, Spain in 1988. Since he was a child, he has loved everything associated with art. He studied mass media communications at the University of Málaga and the University of Salamanca, and holds a degree in publicity from the University of Cádiz and in Lisbon, Portugal. Emilio works as a graphic designer and does freehand drawings, encompassing illustrations, logos, posters and designs for different companies. He has made decorative illustrations inside clubs and centres in Spain and the United Kingdom.

What gender equality means to me: Gender equality is an undeniable right. Gender inequality is thus a reality that we need to end immediately.

About my comic: Gender inequality is still visible today. Even the smallest acts are important steps for solving this global problem.

Second Place Winner: David Ibáñez Bordallo, Spain

UNWomen_comic_2nd_David Bordallo

David was born in Yecla, Spain in 1988. In 2009, he obtained a degree as a technical specialist in arts and design from the School of Arts and Design of Murcia. David also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Murcia. He is currently working as a freelance illustrator for companies and print media, while continuing his research interest in intercultural education.

What gender equality means to me: Gender inequality represents one of the biggest challenges of our times. As a teacher, I believe in the power of education to change things. I hope that with proper education, creativity, and sense of responsibility future generations will be able to move more strongly in solving this and other problems that compromise sustainability and human happiness: I firmly believe in children’s superpowers to overcome barriers that currently seem almost impossible to overcome.

About my cartoon: Stop telling stories, you are superpowerful!

1 of 5 Third Place Winners: Agata Hop, Poland

UNWomen_comic_3rd_Agata Hop

Agata was born in 1995 and is currently attending high school in Supra?l, Poland. She pursues her art through a number of projects covering illustration, comics, digital drawing and animation. She has worked at an animation studio, designed T-shirts for a dance workshop at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, and created the logo for the Theatre Dolls and People in Bialystok.

What gender equality means to me: Gender equality means that men and women are able to achieve the same degree of success through an equal effort.

About my comic: The cartoon portrays today’s sad reality in an amusing way. While the man is riding an escalator to success, the woman has to climb the ladder carrying a lot of burden.

Click here to see the other 4 Third Place Winners and the 5 Semi-Finalists.