#FairnessFirst: Stock images that finally reflect real women in Africa

Professional African women have been underrepresented on the internet until now. This international women's month, Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze launched the project #ShowUs stock image library, aimed at shattering beauty stereotypes, while Ellipsis and Picha collaborated to create their #MelaninModern stock images of professional African women. Here's why media and advertising alike need to get in on the action.
An idea of what you'll find in the #ShowUs image library.
An idea of what you'll find in the #ShowUs image library.

Let’s talk numbers.

On Getty Images, the search term “real people” has increased +192% over the past year, “diverse women” by +168%, and “strong women” by +187% providing more evidence of the demand for a more realistic portrayal of women and beauty.

In addition, there’s clearly a need for stock imagery of women in more progressive and empowering roles and scenarios, with the search term “women leaders” up by +202%.


Drilling down a little deeper, Dove’s ‘Impact of Beauty Stereotypes Quant Study 2019’ research – conducted by Edelman Intelligence between December 2018 – February 2019 with 9,027 women aged 18-64 in 11 countries: UK, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, India, Russia – shows that 8 in 10 South African women wish media and advertisers did a better job of portraying women of diverse appearance, including age, race, shape and size.



Cue Project #ShowUs, described as follows:
…the world's largest stock photo library with over 5,000 images, created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes and is available now for the media and advertising industries to view, license and use in their next project or campaign.
There’s even more to choose from if you’re working for an African audience, as the International Women’s Day launch of Ellipsis and Picha’s Melanin Modern campaign offers a variety of royalty-free images representing professional African women in positions of power.



This comes after last month’s celebration for the most diverse emoji set yet.

The Unicode Consortium has confirmed we'll have at least 230 new emojis to choose from in 2019 when different skin tones and genders and disabilities are included.


Media and advertisers are welcome to view, license and use the photos in Project #ShowUs for their next project or campaign at GettyImages.com/ShowUs, and you can visit www.pichastock.com to view their current collection of African-themed photos.




Let’s shatter those stereotypes!

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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