Women are more than half of the world



Nordindien 1991
Slender girl, clad in a red sari, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Zambia 1993
Young Bena Kabende mother, Manokola, northern Zambia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydasien 1978-79
This healthy, strong girl in the Trisuli Valley, Nepal, is carrying a heavy sack of millet. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




Like most men, I have an eye for beauty and grace in females of all age groups. This page shows a collection of pictures of women, old and young, whom I found attractive in one way or another, sometimes just by the dignified way they were carrying themselves, sometimes through the way they were working.

The vast majority of women are exceedingly hard-working, occupied with various tasks, including cooking, cleaning, childcare, and field work. Generally, men are working much less, often sitting in groups all day long, drinking alcohol and commenting on the world around them. Today, when many women have jobs on par with men, their husbands often expect them to also take care of cooking and childcare.



This Gurung woman in the Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, central Nepal, is winnowing maize. The breeze will remove dust from the crop, and by beating the basket with an intricate movement of her left hand, the woman separates chaff from kernels. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Three Danish graces in their best finery, c. 1920. (Photo: Public domain)





This woman, accompanied by her donkey, is on her way to a lake to collect water, Tahoua, Niger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





At the floating market in Damnoensaduak, Thailand, two women and a man sell fruits from their boats: rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), pomelo (Citrus maxima), pineapples (Ananas sativus), lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), grapes (Vitis vinifera), and longan, or dragon-eye fruit (Dimocarpus longan). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Everywhere in less affluent countries, women are often seen carrying burdens on their back, or on their head – fodder, firewood, laundry, children etc.



Staggering under their huge loads, women from Agora village, Asi Ganga Valley, Uttarakhand, northern India (top), and from Pokhara, Nepal, carry home bundles of hay to be used as fodder for their cattle. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Himachal Pradesh 2007
Foliage from the forest is also widely used as fodder. These pictures show women, carrying fodder across a river near Sauraha, southern Nepal (top), and a woman from the Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh, northern India. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Afrika 1980-81
This woman is walking along a road near Ngaunderé, Cameroun, balancing a dish on her head. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Illuminated by yellowish evening light, women carry loads of firewood from the forest to their home in Sauraha, southern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





People around the Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh, northern India, are Hindus of Caucasian origin, who migrated here from Rajasthan hundreds of years ago. – The Tirthan Valley is presented in detail on the page Plants – Plant hunting in the Himalaya: Abode of the deodar.



Himachal Pradesh 2007
Young woman from the town of Gushaini, Tirthan Valley. The red mark between her eyebrows, called a tika, indicates her status as a married woman. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Elderly women chatting during a shopping trip, Chania, Crete. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Nordindien 1997
These Muslim women, wearing beautiful local dresses, are shopping at a market in Kullu. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The Lur are a people who live in the Zagros Mountains in south-western Iran. In 1973, I spent about six weeks in this area. You may read about my adventures elsewhere, see Travel episodes – Iran 1973: In the mountains of Luristan.



Asien 1972-73
Lur mother and daughter. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Asien 1972-73
Young woman of the Lur tribe. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Uttarakhand 2008
With a long wooden pestle, this young woman in the Asi Ganga Valley, Uttarakhand, India, is pounding her crop of wheat in a basket, hereby removing the husks. – Read more about the Asi Ganga Valley elsewhere, see Travel episodes – India 2008: Mountain goats and frozen flowers. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The vast Thar Desert stretches across the state of Rajasthan, north-western India, and further west into Pakistan. The main part of this desert is level sand or gravel plains with scattered bushes and trees.

This desert is surprisingly densely populated, inhabited by a number of peoples, who belong to various religions, such as Jains, Bishnoi, Muslims, and Hindu Rajputs. Scattered across the bleak landscape lie numerous towns and villages. One such town is Jaisalmer, close to the Pakistani border, which was founded in 1156 by a Rajput prince, Roa Rawal Jaisal.

This fascinating desert is presented in detail elsewhere, see Travel episodes – India 2003: Camel safari in the Thar Desert, whereas the Bishnoi people are dealt with on the page Travel episodes – India 1991: Bishnoi people live in harmony with nature.



Nordindien 1991
Woman, sweeping her courtyard in a village in the Thar Desert. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nordindien 1991
Young Bishnoi woman, carrying water to her home from the village well, near Jodhpur. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nordindien 1991
This woman has been collecting firewood in the Thar Desert near Jodhpur. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Indien 2003
Indien 2003
Muslim women from the village of Bambara in the heart of the Thar Desert, near the Pakistani border. Note the huge adornment in the nostril of one of the women. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Lahaul-Ladakh 2014
This woman, who owns a tiny restaurant in the town of Pandoh, Himachal Pradesh, India, is making tea, adding liberal amounts of milk and cardamom seeds. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Sydindien 2008
Sydindien 2008
Hindu women in the town of Karwar, Karnataka, South India. The tika marks on their forehead indicate their status as married women. Multi-coloured marks, as the one on the forehead of the woman in the lower picture, are usually applied during Hindu festivals. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Annapurna 2007
Young woman with bamboo shoots, collected for food in the forest, Annapurna, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The majority of the inhabitants in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, are Newars, a people of mixed Caucasian and Mongoloid origin.



Nepal 1991
Young Newar woman with her child. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Newar woman with her granddaughter. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The Sinhalese are a people from North India, who, in the 6th Century B.C., conquered most of Sri Lanka and created an advanced civilization with several competing kingdoms. The various peoples of Sri Lanka are presented on the page Travel episodes – Sri Lanka 1974: Among the Veddas.



Sri Lanka 1974-75
Sinhalese girl, weaving, Hikkaduwa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydasien 1976-77
Sinhalese beauty, Polonnaruwa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Europa 1972-2005
These people enjoy a break during their work, planting tobacco, near Koroneia, northern Greece. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The marvellous Sultan Ahmet Camii (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) in Istanbul, Turkey, popularly known as ‘The Blue Mosque’, was constructed between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Sultan Ahmet I. – A picture of this gorgeous building is presented on the page In praise of the colour blue.



Tyrkiet 2006
Four girls, visiting the Sultan Ahmet Camii, three of them modestly dressed for the occasion, one wearing modern clothes. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The Yunnan Province of south-western China is home to at least 25 tribal peoples, who often wear very colourful traditional dresses. More pictures of these and other Chinese tribal people may be studied in the gallery at People: Tribals of China.



Guizhou-Yunnan 2007
This young woman of the Yi minority is clad in traditional dress, Yuanyang. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Yunnan 2007
This elderly woman of the Naxi people, clad in traditional dress, performs a dance in the town of Lijiang. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Alperne 2016a
Young woman with an interesting hairstyle, Tirol, Austria. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





In the Himalaya, during the summer months, many families move to temporary shelters in high altitude grazing grounds for yaks, called kharka. Daily, they milk their female yaks, called nak, making butter and cheese from the milk.

Read more about the yak on the page Animals: Animals as servants of Man.



Nepal 2009
This picture shows a Tamang woman and her son, sitting near the kitchen fire in a stone dwelling at Dukpu Kharka, Langtang National Park, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Young woman, herding cattle on a ridge between the Tamur Valley and the Kabeli Valley, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Taiwan 2012a
Taiwanese girl, enjoying an ice cream. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The indigenous population of Borneo is a multitude of Malayan tribes, known by the common name Dayaks. One of these peoples are the Punan, who live along the Rajang River, Sarawak. You may read about my visit to a Punan village on the page Travel episodes – Borneo 1975: Canoe trip with Punan tribals.



Sydøstasien 1975
This young Punan girl performs a dance, with fans of hornbill feathers attached to her wrists, which are moved gracefully in time with the music. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Bornholm 2008b
Open-air line dance performance, Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Indonesien 1985
Young Muslim woman in the town of Sapé, Sumbawa, Indonesia. Note that her front teeth have been filed down, probably an ideal of beauty on this island. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The majority of the population in Zambia are various tribes of Bantu people. The pictures below show two of these tribes from the northernmost part of the country, the Bena Kabende and the Unga. The latter, who live in the great Bangweulu Swamps, are presented in detail on the page Countries and places: Bangweulu – where water meets the sky.



Zambia 1993
Bena Kabende tribals in the village of Manokola. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Zambia 1993
Most Unga women wrap a gaily coloured cloth, called chitenge, around their waist. Babies spend most of the time on their mother’s back, wrapped in a chitenge. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Zambia 1993
Elderly Unga woman. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Bus rides in Nepal are often long and tiring. These girls have fallen asleep on the way. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The Khmer Empire (802-1431 A.D.) was a Southeast Asian Hindu kingdom, which left a superb legacy in the form of the Angkor Wat ruins, in present-day Cambodia.



Cambodia 2009
This Khmer relief at Angkor Wat depicts apsaras, also called ‘heavenly nymphs’ or ‘daughters of joy’, who were female dancers and prostitutes at the royal court. The dark smudges on their breasts are caused by numerous visitors, who seem to get some pleasure out of touching them! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





During the 1980s, many poor people were settling in the jungle east of the town of Mahiyangana, eastern Sri Lanka. When a family settled in this area, the government would supply them with basic needs, including rice, lentils, sugar, and dried fish, for the first 15 months. After this period, they had to fend for themselves.



This woman in the jungle near Mahiyangana is cooking a meal for us in her simple kitchen. It was delicious! (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Woman, frying tofu at her food stall, Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Markets in Guatemala are a blaze of colours, the women wearing a blouse, called huipil, consisting of several layers of cloth, sown together into intricate patterns. Every village in Guatemala has its own distinct huipil colours and patterns, and almost every woman weaves the cloth for her huipil herself. These gorgeous blouses constitute a part of the daily dress – not only worn at religious festivals or other important events, as one might judge from the beauty of them.

Guatemala is presented in detail elsewhere, see Travel episodes – Guatemala 1998: Country of the Mayans.



Women at a market in Antigua, wearing colourful huipils. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Guatemala 1998
This woman in the village of Santa Catarina Palomo, on the shore of Lago Atitlán, is busy weaving a blue huipil, blue being a typical colour of this village. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





About 500 years ago, the Sherpa, a Tibetan tribe of pastoral nomads, migrated south and settled in several separate areas: Langtang, Helambu, Solu-Khumbu, and Arun Valley in Nepal, and Darjiling in India. In Tibetan, sherpa means ‘a person from the East’, relating to the fact that the Sherpa originated in eastern Tibet. Today, they number about 150,000, and they still speak a Tibetan dialect.

The Sherpa are Lama Buddhists, mainly of the Nyingma-pa School (also called ‘red-hats’, because the high lamas of this sect wear red hoods). Women have a very high status among the Sherpa, and usually weddings are not arranged by the parents. Sherpas love to eat meat, but their Buddhist religion condemns killing of any creature, so the slaughtering is done by non-Buddhist Tibetans. Only domestic animals are eaten, and wildlife in Sherpa areas is generally left in peace.

Among Westerners, the Sherpa are mainly known as excellent guides and climbers on mountaineering expeditions, and many Sherpas have scaled Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) several times. Today, numerous Sherpas work in the tourist industry.



Nepal 1991a
Despite having had an obviously strenuous life, this old Sherpa woman in the Arun Valley has aged with grace. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



During the trekking seasons in spring and autumn, this young Sherpa girl from the Khumbu region can easily find work as a porter for tourists. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Nepal 2002
Yolmu woman, spinning wool in the village of Shyabru, Langtang National Park. The Yolmu are a branch of the Sherpa tribe. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





An elderly woman with her grandson, Umlung, Ladakh, India. – In the Himalaya, grandparents are highly respected, often participating in the upbringing of their grandchildren. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Alperne 1968-2001
Young women, working as bar maids in a hotel in the town of Annaberg im Lammertal, Salzburg, Austria. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Limbu girls with ornaments, Tapethok, Tamur River, eastern Nepal. One of them proudly presents her little son. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Taiwan 2012a
This young woman displays a large basket, full of persimmons (Diospyros kaki), which are placed on scaffolds to dry in the sun, Xinpu, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Nepal 1998
From the safety on her mother’s back, this little Thakali girl in the Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, Nepal, is watching my doings intensely, probably evaluating whether I am dangerous or not. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Taiwan 2008
Bunung tribal woman, Dilih, Taiwan. More pictures of Taiwanese tribal people may be seen in the gallery at People: Tribals of Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Guizhou 2009
Mother and son with rhododendron flowers, Wumeng Shan Mountains, Guizhou Province, China. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





The Achewa are a Bantu tribe, living around the southern part of Lake Malawi.



Sydlige Afrika 1996-97
Young Achewa woman, carrying her child on her back, Monkey Bay. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)



Sydlige Afrika 1996-97
Achewa woman in the village of Chembe, cleaning maize. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)





Taiwan 2015
During a Daoist parade in the city of Taichung, Taiwan, women with flower baskets perform a dance in front of a shop, supposedly bringing prosperity to the owner. – Read more about Daoism on the page Religion: Daoism in Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)




(Uploaded January 2018)


(Latest update May 2019)