A Global Picture

with Stefanie Posavec, 2015


A Global Picture is an animated data visualisation of adult women's legal rights in 18 countries over the 50 years from 1965 to 2015. It was produced for the Women of the World (WOW) Festival held at London's Southbank Centre in March 2015.


Click here for full animation


The concept

Laws affecting women have changed greatly over the last 50 years, mostly in the direction of gender equality. But significant gaps remain in women's legal rights compared to men's – and not only in obvious places like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The animation visualises how worldwide, women are becoming part of the bigger picture. And reveals the places where the picture is still incomplete.

How to read it

Each country is represented by a square. As the timeline indicates progression through the decades, the squares fill in as women gain the legal right described by the question at the top of the screen.

As women's rights are won, the square briefly turns blue, then fills with colour. If a right is taken away, the square briefly turns back, and the square's fill is removed. Filled squares are colour coded by the decade of legislation change. The black squares at the end show countries where (as of February 2015) women still do not have the legal right described.

There are five questions in five categories: POWER, MONEY, WORK, STATUS and SEX. These words appear in the background, getting more and more visible as rights are won and the picture gradually fills in. We are left with a patchwork of squares – with the gaps showing countries where women's rights are still absent.

There are some historical surprises: Switzerland was surprisingly slow to grant its female citizens basic freedoms, and the UK only criminalised rape within marriage in 1991.

Data sources

The data for this piece was largely taken from the World Bank's excellent Women, Business and the Law Database. Other sources included the IPU, OECD and individual country civil and criminal codes.



Stefanie Posavec (design)
Miriam Quick (research)
Sarah Toplis (digital production)
Alan Trotter (animation)