Justyna Mielnikiewicz photographed and interviewed women of varying ages in rural villages, small towns, and the capital city of Tbilisi in order to explore the range of women’s roles and experiences in Georgia. She began her project in closed, rural communities, where social rules are often more severe due to the persistence of traditional customs, peer and social pressure, tighter community control, and the regulation of women’s conduct based on conservative religious values.
She then documented women living in Tbilisi, where women also grapple with gender-based roles, but where they also have greater access to opportunities and can operate more independently. Covering a range of topics—such as employment, education, religion, motherhood, marriage, divorce, and violence against women in the form of domestic violence, honor killings, and bride abductions—Mielnikiewicz shows that while some roles and customs have changed, others remain the same.
Justyna Mielnikiewicz is an award-winning freelance photojournalist based in the Republic of Georgia and originally from Poland. She mainly covers the countries of the former Soviet Union for clients such as The New York Times, Newsweek Poland, and Eurasianet.org. Mielnikiewicz started working as a photojournalist in 1999 as a reporter for the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2002, she began working as a freelance photographer and moved to Georgia, where started her long-term project about the South Caucasus. Mielnikiewicz’s photographs are in the collection of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan.