Photojournalism, like many other fields, has been primarily dominated by white men. Although many of these men are filled with talent, unfortunately, we still see sexism in this industry.
To combat this problem, a new organization called Women Photograph has been launched with the motive to help women gain more opportunities in the photojournalism industry.
Women Photograph strives to diversify the industry and ensure that storytellers come from a wide range of individuals with different backgrounds. They recently presented their first grants to four women.
The top grant was given to female photojournalist, Alex Potter, to help fund a four-week trip to cover conflict in the Middle East. She said that she would, “focus on the daily lives of families from every strata of society.” Potter, who is also an American nurse, will receive $5,000 to collaborate with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting on her continuing coverage.
Founder, Daniella Zalcman, a freelance photographer herself, said, “In some perfect world of the future, half of working photojournalists will be women and there will not need to be grants for photographers of color or female photographers. But right now, as we work to level the playing field, we absolutely need to create intentional opportunities to address the huge imbalances in the photojournalism community.”
This recognition can make a world of difference for future aspiring photojournalists who hopefully will not have to endure sexism.
On their website, it is quite impressive to see the work they have done. The database features 550 females and female-identifying photographers from 87 countries who are available for editorial assignments and have more than five years of professional experience.
The group is creating a space through their private Facebook group where these women photographers can come together, share professional tips, and discuss issues and ways to handle sexual harassment.
All in all, they enable female photojournalists with support and opportunities for their futures.
Additionally, they have been advocating for more jobs and editorial assignments for female photographers from leading publications.
Compared to 30 years ago, there are many more female photojournalists. In fact, the majority of the photography program graduates at the leading journalism schools in the United States, and most of the top photo editors at large publications are women.
However, Zalcman says the best assignments continue to go overwhelmingly to men.
Zalcman and her volunteer team have been collecting data on the gender breakdown of the photographers in the best-of-year roundups, as well as the front page photos and covers of major Western newspapers and magazines. These include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Le Monde, Time, the Atlantic and National Geographic.
The results indicate that between 75 and 95 percent of the most important photos viewed by readers are those taken by men.
Women Photograph is a great initiative to break down barriers that female photojournalists have to face every day. It will be extremely exciting to see where this organization goes and the amazing work that will come out of it.
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