While American Banker is celebrating the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance tonight in New York City, the National Geographic Society will be opening a major, three-year traveling exhibition focused on female photojournalists.

"Women of Vision" will open Oct. 10 in Washington for a five-month show and then travel to five other cities served by the exhibit's sponsor, PNC Financial Services Group.

"We didn't have a moment's hesitation," Michael N. Harreld, regional president of PNC Bank, said in an interview when asked about the sponsorship. "We thought it would be extraordinarily popular, interesting and appropriate for D.C. and it was also leveragable to five other markets."

The next stop for the exhibition will be the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., opening on March 29. PNC and National Geographic are not yet releasing the names of the remaining cities because details with museum venues are still being nailed down. But Harreld did say that a couple of the markets are new ones for PNC, "so it's a very, very significant way for us to introduce our brand to the marketplace."

Harreld wouldn't disclose how much PNC is spending on Women of Vision but called it "a notable sponsorship. It may be as significant as any traveling exhibition that we've ever done."

Kathryn Keane, vice president for exhibitions at the National Geographic Society, said in a separate interview that the 11 female photojournalists featured in the exhibition were chosen because their work has appeared in the magazine over the past 10 years.

"The initial goal of the project was just to do something great about the last 10 years of National Geographic magazine, and as we were choosing the stories all of a sudden more and more of them were by women photojournalists and we thought we should do a project like this," she said.

"To a person, these women they don't consider themselves 'women' photographers. They consider themselves photographers," she said. "But photojournalism is traditionally viewed, even by journalists, as sort of a man's world. It's becoming increasingly less so and the gender barriers are breaking down."

Keane said she hopes the exhibition will inspire girls to go into the field. "I think it's great that we are creating this program that young women can get excited about and be inspired by."

Women of Vision will be at National Geographic's headquarters until March 9. For more information, click here.

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