Paola Gianturco Biography

Paola Gianturco
Photo Courtesy CCTV America
Paola Gianturco is an author/photographer who has documented women’s lives in 62 countries, had five books published---and is a grandmother.

Women’s Issues

Her involvement with women’s issues is long standing. She has lectured about them in the US, Canada, France, United Arab Emirates, and Spain. She spoke at UNESCO International Headquarters in Paris on International Women’ s Day 2008; her photographs were exhibited there in 2009 and 2011. Paola co-developed and taught Executive Institutes on Women and Leadership at Stanford University, and served on the Board of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). She was a principal in the first women-owned advertising agency in the United States and is a current member of International Women’s Forum. Paola presented a TED TALK in 2014 in Dubai. In 2013, Paola was named one of "40 Women to Watch over 40" --- and in 2014, she was named one of "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women's eNews. In 2017 Paola was inducted into the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.


Her newest book, Grandmother Power, A Global Phenomenon (powerHouse Books, 2012), documents a new, unheralded international women’s movement. Grandmother Power features 120 activist grandmothers in 17 grandmother groups in 15 countries on five continents who are fighting courageously and effectively—against poverty, disease, illiteracy, and human rights abuse—to create a better world for grandchildren everywhere. Grandmother Power has won the 2013 Living Now Book Award's Gold medal -- Social Action category, ForeWord Reviews' 2012 Book of the Year Gold Award -- Women's Studies category, 2013 Readers' Choice Award for Favorite Grandparenting Book, and the 2013 International Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction. (

Women Who Light the Dark, (www.womenwholightthedark) was released in 2007. It features women in 15 countries who are helping each other with the intractable problems that make life dark for families everywhere.

Paola’s third book, ¡Viva Colores! A Salute to the Indomitable People of Guatemala was published in September 2006; its bi-lingual, English/Spanish text was written by David Hill. (

Her second book, Celebrating Women (2004) features festivals in 15 countries that celebrate women’s accomplishments, attributes, roles, rites of passage, and spiritual lives. ( The first exhibit ever curated by the International Museum of Women (San Francisco) was Celebrating Women. A travelling exhibit was mounted by the Field Museum in Chicago, where 195,000 visitors saw it during seven months in 2008. UNESCO exhibited Celebrating Women in March 2009 at its world headquarters in Paris. The show travelled to six U.S. venues in 2010 and 2011.

Paola conceived, and, collaborating with Toby Tuttle, was co-author/photographer of In Her Hands, Craftswomen Changing the World, (hardcover, 2000; paperback, 2004) ( This book features women artisans in 12 countries, all sending their children to school with the money they earn from selling their handicrafts. Photographs from this book have been exhibited at The United Nations in New York; The United States Senate, Washington DC; The Smithsonian Museum Folklife Festival, Washington DC and The Field Museum, Chicago.

Media Coverage

Paola has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, and CNN. Her photographs have been published by Harpers Bazaar-Australia, Marie Claire (US, Taiwan and Greek editions), The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner, The Denver Post, The Chicago Tribune, plus many Internet sites, podcasts and blogs.

Solo Exhibits

  • Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI, Grandmother Power, September 18-January 31, 2017
  • Mount Mary University, Milwaukee WI, Grandmother Power, July 28- September 13, 2014
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids, MI, Grandmother Power, September 6, 2013-February 2, 2014
  • Field Museum, Chicago IL, In Her Hands, May 18, 2001-January 13, 2002
  • Field Museum, Chicago IL, Celebrating Women, March 1-September 7, 2008
  • International Museum of Women, San Francisco CA, Celebrating Women, October-December 2004
  • San Jose Museum of Art, San Francisco CA, In Her Hands, August 4-22, 2004
  • UNESCO, Paris, Miro Rooms 1 and 2, Celebrating Women, March 2009
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival, South African Pavilion photomurals, Washington DC, June 23-July 4, 1999
  • United States Senate Russell Rotunda, Washington DC, In Her Hands, October 2002
  • Center for International Women’s Leadership, Notre Dame IN, In Her Hands, February 8-September 30, 2002
  • University of New England Art Gallery, Portland MA, Celebrating Women, March 8-May 20, 2010
  • Dennos Museum, Traverse City MI, Celebrating Women, September 19, 2010-January 2, 2011
  • Center for International Women’s Leadership, Notre Dame IN, Celebrating Women, October 2, 2008-January 15, 2009
  • Tarbel Art Center, Charleston IL, Celebrating Women, January, 2011
  • Leedy-Volkos Gallery, Kansas City, MO, Celebrating Women, March/April 2011
  • Dominican University Library, San Rafael, CA, Celebrating Women, May 25-June 30, 2011
  • 505 Sansome Gallery, San Francisco CA, In Her Hands, February 9-27, 2004
  • Art Works, Chestertown, MD, March, 2009
  • Bryan Art Gallery, Conway SC, In Her Hands, September 11-October 17, 2008
  • Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose, CA, In Her Hands, June 1-July 31, 2005

Group Exhibits

  • United Nations, General Assembly Lobby, New York, Progress of the World’s Women, (8 images), June 5-July 6, 2000
  • UNESCO, Headquarters, Paris: Women at Work, Women’s Lives, March 2011 (14 images)

Permanent Collections

  • Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco CA (40 images)
  • Truman Medical Center, Kansas City MO (40 images)
  • Carole Ann Reed Breast Health Center, Oakland CA (20 In Her Hands images)

First Career

Prior to 1996, Paola spent 34 years in communications: 7 in retailing and public relations; 14 as a principal in the first women-owned advertising agency in the United States; 9 as Executive Vice President of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Corporate Communications Group; 4 as President of The Gianturco Company, a communications consultancy.


In addition to her involvement with women’s issues (listed above), Paola is a member of the Advisory Boards of three nonprofits:  Global Grandmothers, Let Girls Lead , and Pencils for Africa . Previously, she was Board Chair of The Crafts Center, which worked with low-income artisans in 79 countries, and she served on the Board of the travel company, International Nature and Cultural Adventures.

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