FILE.- A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine holds...

FILE.- A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine holds her baby as she sits in a tent at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. As a woman photojournalist Andreea thinks "it is tougher as a woman in professions regarded as male territory but it's not at all hopeless: just a few generations ago, most professions were considered "men only," and that changed so drastically that it's hard to imagine times like that ever existed." Credit: AP/Andreea Alexandru

BUCHAREST, Romania — Andreea Alexandru is a photographer who works with The Associated Press in Bucharest, Romania. Alexandru has covered riots, elections, sporting events and cultural events. Her overseas assignments have included the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III.

This feature is part of a series highlighting Associated Press journalists for Women’s History Month. An earlier installment featured one of our photographers who has documented violence against women in Haiti.

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I try to look at adversity as motivation and opportunity to evolve, both in social interactions and photography. It makes me try to communicate better with people, because adversity and discrimination start from fear and bad communication. It is, obviously, easier said than done, but for me it is the only way to go.

My photography adventure started when I was about 15 years old and I took photos for the first time, at a family wedding. Everyone adamantly told me they were so bad that it was clear I was never going to be able to take a decent photograph in my life. Their words still ring in my head and they still work as a twisted motivational mantra.

Some members of my family occasionally compliment me on my work and then in the same sentence they say: “you should have kept your decent architect job, this one is not for women.” I try to take it as a pep talk.

Yes, it is tougher as a woman in professions regarded as male territory but it’s not at all hopeless: just a few generations ago, most professions were considered “men only,” and that changed so drastically that it’s hard to imagine times like that ever existed.

FILE.- A boy watches Ukrainian refugee girls posing for pictures...

FILE.- A boy watches Ukrainian refugee girls posing for pictures between balloons in the colors of the Ukrainian and Romanian flags at the Ienachita Vacarescu Elementary School in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. As a woman photojournalist, Andreea says " I, much like every woman, often feel some level of discrimination, either manifested openly or in a more veiled manner. However, that is nowhere near what women face in disadvantaged social groups where access to education is not a given or minimum decent living conditions are not met." Credit: AP/Andreea Alexandru

I, much like every woman, often feel some level of discrimination, either manifested openly or in a more veiled manner. However, that is nowhere near what women face in disadvantaged social groups where access to education is not a given or minimum decent living conditions are not met. I would trivialize the everyday plight of all women suffering unimaginable discrimination if I gave examples of the low-level aggression I am faced with.

That is not to say that any level of discrimination should be accepted, but realism and perspective are a must, otherwise we end up hurting the very cause we are fighting for. If I compare climbing a flight of stairs to reaching the peak of mount Everest, nobody will take me seriously. That is a risk I won’t take — the most horrible things start with people thinking matters are not that serious.

A colleague always says: We’re fantastic beings, running very flawed software. I believe in software upgrades — we have come a very long way, there is still a long way to go.

We’ll get there if everyone does their part.

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