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The Scandal That's Ruining the Photographic Industry

The Scandal That's Ruining the Photographic Industry

Have you noticed the bigotry towards women in the photographic industry? It's there and I feel partly to blame. But some camera manufacturers and big photography businesses are the worst offenders.

Some while ago, I was approached by a moderately well-known photography business here in the UK. They wanted me to become a brand representative. I wrote back and said I would be happy to so long as there was equality within their ambassador team; I knew there wasn’t. Adding another white, middle-aged man to their ambassadors would do nothing to address that, and I didn’t want to be associated with a business that promoted inequality, even if it were passive and unintentional. I didn't hear back from them.

That made me look at other brands’ lists of ambassadors. The inequality across the board was shocking.

The person in this photo has incredible photographic talent. If she turned professional, she is likely to face absurd barriers for no other reason other than she is a woman.

Roughly comparing the split between men and women who are photographers globally, around 40% are women and 60% are men. I did a similar comparison ten or so years ago, and the percentage of women is increasing. I hasten to add it was not a scientific survey, just counting the members of each sex in photography social media groups, but it’s a reasonable guideline. Even so, we should be aiming for a 50/50 split between men and women in prominent positions as that is where the proportions of male and female photographers are heading.

In America there are thirty-nine women out of 141 photographers on Sony’s ambassador list, that’s just 27%. However, of their ninety-eight European ambassadors here in Europe, there are only ten women. In Asia only two of the fourteen ambassadors are women. Sony, you should be ashamed

Perhaps if powerful camera manufacturers perpetuate a culture of inequality, we should start to shun them.

Sony is not alone. Canon, for example, announced a list of ambassadors in the Philippines, and they were all male. A despicable act that, as far as I can see, they are not apologizing for. This, despite Alex Cooke’s article published here on Fstoppers highlighting the issue of over-representation by white men in the industry. That article was published over five years ago.

This really should not be an issue in the modern world. Snubbing women should have been eradicated along with the regimes that promoted misogyny, on top of their other evil practices, in the 1940s.

Does it bother you that Canon have shown what appear to be misogynistic decisions in their ambassadorial choices.

There really is no difference between the photographic abilities of women and men. In fact, when I count the most talented photographers I know personally, more than half of them are women. Furthermore, there are many internationally renowned female photographers. That is reflected in the Fstoppers photographer of the month that has an unintentional fifty percent split between the sexes. There are, of course, non-binary photographers too.

So, what is happening in the industry that gives us shameful statistics? Is it down to misogyny, or is there more to it than that?

There is an undeniable problem of men who hate women in the industry. One only looks at the despicable and sickening comments left on our women writers’ articles to know this is the case. There is a long history of internet trolls belittling, insulting, and bullying women. Read this excellent article by Kate G that highlighted the issue of discrimination against women, and then read the atrocious comments below.  Thankfully, those making such foul statements are now removed from this site and their accounts closed.

There is little doubt in my mind that misogyny is to blame. Especially so when you hear the stories the women have had to face from men. Including this world-class sports photographer being passed over for promotion because of bigotry that was both highlighted and perpetuated by her manager.

There's no question you have the skill or the work ethic, but the guys would never go to have you as their boss – you know how they are.

Or when photographing a sports event she was told, 

Put your camera down and go stand at the finish line. You're just here to be the reward for the racers.


You don't look like a sports photographer.

Why am I keeping her anonymous? To avoid the hate she is likely to receive as a result.

Most brands have had or still have issues. On the Nikon website, only five of their twenty-five European ambassadors are women. In the Middle East, there are none. In the USA, they do much better. Of their thirty-four ambassadors, fourteen are women, which represents 40% of photographers, approximately in line with the number of female photographers there are currently. About a quarter of Lumix’s ambassadors are women.

One of the most talented and creative young photographic artists I know. Her ambitions within the industry are likely to be restricted unless we all work towards a cultural change within the industry.

Shockingly, I could count fewer than twenty women out of the hundred or so Magnum photographers.

I would even start to respect these companies if they held up their hands and admitted they had got it wrong and said what they were doing to redress that.

They are not all bad. Leica shows ten photographers on their UK website, six of those are women. Fujifilm is highlighting that they are making their X-Photographer program more diverse and inclusive. I approached OM Systems, they are undertaking a complete reorganization too, and I look forward to seeing the results of that as it's the brand I use the most.

I spoke to Tianna Williams, the Nikon Z Creator here in the UK, another amazing talent whose work I admire. She is quite optimistic that things are changing.

There is a certain change moving through the industry but in terms of recognition I think there is work to be done. There can still be a feeling of photography being an ‘old boys club’ and some genres such as sports and wildlife continue to convey that. However I think if we look hard enough and in the right places, there are incredible female photographers doing their thing! That is always a joy to see. 

Is it always deliberate and active prejudice by the organizations? Not wanting to appear hypocritical, I checked the numbers here at Fstoppers. Sure enough, there were far fewer women writers than expected. I found it strange because I know this is at odds with the nature of our community of writers and editors. They are amazingly supportive of everyone, and misogyny and prejudice of any kind are universally abhorred here. So, I asked Alex Cooke, our Editor-in-Chief, and he told me that it is difficult to keep women writers because of the nature of the comments that happen in the articles.

It’s a constant struggle for me. I try to hire as many women as possible, and we actually had several more a year or two ago, but they unfortunately left. I’ve been told at least once that the atmosphere in the comments and the like have discouraged someone from continuing. I simply don’t get a lot of applications from women, which makes it tremendously difficult.

I then looked at several other major photography websites, and women are greatly outnumbered on all except DXOMark. Interestingly, they don’t give the name of the writer of their articles. Consequently, the women cannot be targeted by sexist bullies as they have been elsewhere.

Are you and I to blame for this bigoted culture? Yes! Why? Even if we all despise that form of hatred – most people do – how many of us read bigoted comments and bother to challenge them?

I did on that one of Kate's, but I am sure there must have been comments I’ve seen in the past that I have not challenged.

Historically, all the brands have failed when it comes to equality. There have been improvements, but there is a long way to go. Do you check the ethical credentials of the gear you buy? Would you help pressure them into helping build a fairer world? If not, you have a problem.

So, this is a request to all the good people out there, the ordinary readers who find those comments as abhorrent as I do. Let’s start calling out the bigots and bullies and showing them that their attitude is unacceptable. Not just on this site, but everywhere. Report their comments and reply to them showing them up for their ignorance. If their comments are illegal, and many are, report them to the Police. Unless we all tackle this head-on, it won’t go away.

If you are attacked online because of any status, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of people who are prepared to make a stand. Additionally, remember that those who come out with those kinds of comments are usually doing so to compensate for their insecurities and inadequacies. 

We should make sure we go out of our way to offer support to all photographers, especially women. Let’s work on this until the imbalance is redressed.

Maybe we should also start voting with our feet too. Until they have actively addressed their anti-female fascism, I intend to discourage my clients from buying products made by those businesses that continue exhibiting discrimination. Manufacturers should start to feel the pain in their pockets. Maybe that is the only way to change their behavior.

I also urge my fellow writers not just here at Fstoppers, but at Petapixel, DPreview, DXOMark, and others, to highlight this and other ethical issues in their gear reviews. Talk about it on your YouTube channels, write about it on your blogs. When you review the latest release of a particular camera or lens, amongst the advantages and disadvantages we should also rate them on their equality and ethical standards.

This should not stop with the mix of sex and gender. Racial and ethnic prejudice exists in the industry too. Most ambassador schemes are split into continental blocks. So, the race and ethnicity of ambassadors in each area should roughly reflect that of the part of the world it serves. That could be a whole new article in itself.

Let us demand that the manufacturers meet the same ethical standards that most reasonable-thinking photographers have. Let us also shame those in the industry who perpetuate any kind of bigotry, especially those of us who stand by and let it happen. Finally, let's see zero tolerance of all bigotry in our own online communities.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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Previous comments

Are you, like, doing ok? You seem kind of low energy. Most people usually put, like, a weeeee bit more effort into a retort.

Here’s the literal definition straight from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Definition of racism
1 : a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
2a : the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another
2b : a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles

I’mma gonna go with Merriam Webster’s definition of Racism on this one, as opposed to “user 65983’s” apocryphal take in the fstoppers comments on an article about inequality in gender representation in photography. I hope you’ll understand.

It’s not often that an actual dictionary definition can be used to contradict someone’s low-effort (troll?) post. But, hey!

At least you learned something today.

It deeply saddens me that "Joephy Bloephe" has a fundamental lack of understanding of the definition of racism. Hopefully you will be able to learn some day.

Actually, he's quite right. By definition, racism is about hatred leading to the oppression of a racial or ethnic group by a more dominant one. You are suggesting that there is a reciprocal hatred towards all white people. This isn't the case. Unless I am mistaken, please correct me if I am wrong Joephy, his anger is aimed at a subgroup of people who continue the oppression who happen to be white. That isn't racism.

Racism is a hatred of any person of one country or race towards another. You guys will be telling me that a white person that moves to the middle of Kenya that hates black people isn't racist as he is part of the minority in said country.

I turned down Canon, Nikon, Sony , Olympus and Magnum for the same reasons. How dare they ask me when so much inequality exists.

“I hasten to add it was not a scientific survey”

Bad research is worse than no research. If you can’t guarantee the validity of the data you should ignore it. In the best case you will get irrelevant results, in the worst case if will lead you to take wrong actions.

Companies should take decisions based on professional research of their target audience. If you don’t know who are the camera brands’ customers and their perception on ambassadors, you shouldn’t make the assumptions on this post.

For example, I’m sure H&M is not searching to get a gender parity 50/50 on influencers or surface for men and women clothes in their retail stores. And they shouldn’t. They should work based on their audience, which apparently is mostly female.

Companies try to maximise revenue. If you think they will accept to reduce their profit just to promote white men, you should rethink how companies operate.

My research was based on sizeable samples from around 50 photography Facebook groups, plus ten photo related IG hashtags. It has its limitations as a data source, but every one of them showed a statistically relevant similarity that the split between men and women who use social media is 60/40. The trend, compared to the survey I carried out ten years ago, is that the number of women in the industry is increasing. That there is a huge disparity between the number of women photographers and the numbers employed within the industry.

Unless you can show me peer-reviewed empirical data, I'm going to stand by the figures.

You actually prove my point by talking about H&M's diverse range of influencers. It reflects their customer base. The photography industry does not reflect theirs.

Sorry, but I'm not stating anything regarding professional photographers market. If anyone has to show peer-reviewed empirical data is you. If you cannot guarantee data validity or statistical strength, it's simply irrelavant. Write to professional associations in your country and ask if they had that data instead.

Membership on a FB group or hashtag on IG are not related with number of professional photographers either. Would you state the gender of professional drivers by counting members of F1 groups on facebook?

I am not saying you are wrong. I am just saying that I can't know if you are right. Furthermore, you can't either.

I assume that both H&M and Nikon know who their target audience are (definitely better than you or me). If that split is 50/50, 60/40 or 90/10, so be it. I work in a company that has chosen to target exclusively femenine audience, 100% of the ambassadors we work with are women, and has 65-70% femenine employees, and that is perfectly ok.

Give me propoer data of the gender gap among buyers of photographic equipment, and THEN we will be able to tell if the brands are failing to represent them.

Spoiler: brands want to make money. If 80% of their revenue come from women, they catter their marketing towards women (as H&M).

so if we have 100% female ambassadors and Nikon USA has 15/31 female ambassadors, I assume both companies know what they are doing.

Well, if you wanted data showing the under-representation of women in the photography industry, there you go:


or this


So the big question is Ausias, why are you so hellbent on trying to undermine the argument in favor of their being equality in the industry? Are you aware of how your comments appear, especially as you hide being a false persona?

Thanks for your answer.

No, that’s not what I wanted to see: I asked about “gender gap among buyers of photographic equipment”, not how much professional photojournalist are being published. Ambassadors programs are set for customer acquisition and monetisation. If they sell a camera, they don’t care if it’s used professionally or for holidays. The brand will only care about how many $$$ come from men and how many from women.

I’m not hellbent about gender bias (I told you, I happily work in a woman-led company). I just work professionally in research and I point poor research. I am against any kind of discrimination, but fighting discrimination with poor arguments doesn’t help the cause.

In the last sentence I think you are just trying to attack me personally instead of politely refuting the argument. Quoting the first comment in this post: “you're welcome to disagree, but be mindful of how you word your disagreement.“

We will have to agree to disagree about the validation of your research. As I said before, I’m not saying that you are wrong (I can’t know!). I’m just saying that you are not proving that you are right. If I tell you that comparing the Earth to an orange doesn’t prove the Earth is spherical, it doesn’t make me believe it’s flat. I just point that your method is wrong.

Anyway I’ll leave it here. I wish you had a more open mind to discuss.

Have a great day.

You might count it as bad research, but if you actually read the article properly, you would see that the only data I presented and said was limited was comparing the numbers of men and women photographers, and not the numbers of professional photographers, using the only data available. You introduced that.

Sure, the sample was not big compared with worldwide numbers, and it was skewed towards people who also used social media. However, it provides a good guideline for the split between genders and the growing trend towards parity when comparing the same sample taken around ten years ago.

The data isn't bad, but the deviation is greater than I woudl want.

The gender gap between buyers, something else you introduced, has little to do with the amount of misogyny within the industry. Although, it is a reasonable assumption that the number of buyers will follow the number of photographers of each sex. Furthermore, to suggest that businesses would release confidential customer data, even if they are able to collect that data as the cameras are sold by retailers, is preposterous.

If you read The State of News Photography 69% of women photographers said that they faced discrimination in the workplace. When questioned about obstacles to success, they cited sexism (54%), industry stereotypes or practices (53%), and lack of opportunities for women (49%).

Your comment that is nit-picking on one small part of the article seem little more than an attempt at distraction from the real issue: the hatred towards women in the industry. That makes you seem like part of the problem.

Furthermore, your point of view holds little credence because of your unwillingness to speak using your own identity. For all I know, you are just sitting in a Russian troll factory trying to destabilise our societies by undermining the western ideals of equality by using distraction techniques.

I like to protect my privacy online, but the last paragraph tells more about your credibility than mine.

Have a great day and a critic mind.

You see, you don't like it if I use the same argument tactic to discredit your argument.

The only difference between your argument and mine is yours is built on thin air and we know that trolls hide behind fake IDs, and use false arguments to support inequality, especially promoting and denying misogyny They often use sly tactics by trying to discredit those who are fighting against it. We also know that there are factories in Russia doing exactly that to undermine the Western ideals of democracy. That doesn't mean that every misogyny denier is a Russian troll, but you do have a lot in common.

You continue personally attacking me. It’s ironic that you say that my arguments are based on thin air, while saying that I’m a Russian troll trying to undermine Western ideals of democracy (out of much less than thin air).

I disagree with your post but, not like you, I have been polite and respectful. I think your article was opportunistic, click-baity, and used poor arguments. On the other side, Michelle gave very good examples that I had no complaint whatsoever. I’m a fervent anti-racist, but if someone writes an article against racism which uses poor arguments, I’m going to critic it (and it doesn’t make me a racist).

Earlier I posted this comment that you downvoted but not answered. Instead of attacking me, can you answer why you don’t hold the same stand on Fstoppers as you do with that undisclosed photography business?

“The author claims that he doesn’t want to be associated with a business that promotes inequality, because of the gender gap in their ambassadors: "Adding another white, middle-aged man to their ambassadors would do nothing to address that".

Did he take the same stand with the business he is associated to?

Let’s take a look at Fstoppers:

- 16/124 members are women. (12.9%)

- 2/9 of staff are women (22%) . I found two people now writing in a long time, making 1/7 active staff (14%).

- Even so, only 1 in the last 100 published articles was written by a woman. (1%)

- In total, 24/8301 articles in Fstoppers were written by women. (0.29%)

Fstoppers has fewer female members, fewer female staff, and they are clearly being published less than men.

If you want to be part of the solution, lead by example.

Have a good day.”

If you don’t want to argue politely, I respect that. But your bully attitude doesn’t help to improve the community here.

Have a great day

Just more WOKE nonsense! Companies should select the best photographers available as Ambassadors…whether male or female should not play a part. If 90% turn out to be women…fine. If the opposite turns out to be true…fine. People should be judged on their skills and abilities and not selected to fill a quota.

Companies should, but they don’t.

"Companies should select the best photographers available as Ambassadors"

I am not sure how the "best" is chosen, probably a combination of things, photo skillz being only part of the pie chart.
This isn't the Olympics where the fastest runner is the best.

Bottom line is for them to sell the brand to as many people as possible.

I'm not sure what bit of equality you consider to be woke, I just consider it a basic human right. Of course, it should not matter whether they are male or female. If it didn't matter then there would be equality in the numbers of people employed, not through any deliberate design and quota-filling, but through the natural process. At the moment many manufacturers have a quota system that is clearly skewed in favor of men.

Furthermore, women would not have to face the abuse they do from other photographers.

There it is! There’s the meritocracy fallacy, arguing for a fantasy system that doesn’t actually exist.

Not to be rude, but you don’t come from a marketing background do you? Companies don’t hire ambassadors based on who’s the best photographer, what good would that do? They’re hiring who they think will be the best social marketers for their brand, in order to attract specific markets. There are tens of thousands of talented photographers of all genders that would meet the photography quality requirement. The issue is that companies, usually mostly run by older (dare I say traditionally minded) men aren’t hiring women, and therefore aren’t representing women, and therefore aren’t attracting as many female customers as they might otherwise.

It’s actually a good business decision to diversify their representation, it’ll make them more money. Sony America seems to realize this as they’re slowly increasing their female ambassador count, same with canon. There’s money on the table, and the best way to get it isn’t to hire the best photographer possible, it’s to hire pretty-good photographers with 600K instagram followers or capable, engaging photographers with a million YouTube followers.

Ambassadors are marketing vehicles. It’s not some kind of photography contest.

Lol, all I get from you is a thumbs down? No attempt to refute my position?
Well, of course, how could you, but I was at least hoping for some vain attempt.

I used to have an account on here, that had multiple POTD's. I left specifically because of the misogyny and hatred directed towards women photographers, from male photographers, and lack of support from the staff here to curb-tail the abuse on this site. I felt the need to come back because it seems the same stuff is always said by the same males every time female photographer issues are brought up.

As a woman photographer that has been working in this industry for a long time, women ARE under represented, not only in ambassador programs, but overall in multiple genres. We deal with a lot, from male photographers, and men in general when shooting. I know a lot of men might respond by saying that's not true, but you cannot suggest what I have gone through as being untypical. It IS typical from a lot of women photographers in this industry. From being sexually harassed by male photographers, being black balled in events, to toxic 'bro' culture in communities, including this one. It's a lot, and when women photographers have spoken up about this issue, MULTIPLE TIMES, we are told it's not true. We're told it's not about the gender, while a male photographer says the most disparaging things to us, and our sex.

The problem is that men will never see this issue from a woman's perspective, ever. Your head is literally in the sand with this issue because you are not forced to live through what it's like being a woman in a male dominated field. You do not see the bad things that come with being a woman, and the negativity that comes from males simply for being woman. Because you men do not consider what we go through as being that bad, or harassment, or that it even happens at all. We're told we under charge, we're not good enough, we're MOMTOGRAPHERS, that we're the reason this industry is being brought down, that we can't 'play' with the 'boys' in big events...etc. All of that has been said ON THIS WEBSITE, by male photographers, to myself and to other women photographers. But it's a non-issue, right? We should be tougher, develop thick skin, and ignore the very blatant misogyny coming from our male counterparts? Absurd.

The patriarchy is a dominating thing in society, in this field, and in our communities. It destroys both the male and female dynamic. From toxic masculinity, to misogyny... all of it is rooted in patriarchal views on how men and women should act and be like. It is as much of a negative to women as it is to men. Just to open some eyes as to why women are underrepresented, and why women need to have their voices uplifted, we can look to the history of just the last 60 years...60, not 200, not 500, 60. Some people here may have been born long before that time.

It was not until 1960's that women could open a bank account here in the USA without having a male to sign for her. Women could not serve on a jury until the 1970's, nor could they go to an Ivy League school. It was not until 1972 that the ERA(Equal Rights Amendment) was passed, however, it wasn't until THIS YEAR that it was finally ratified in 38 states, and has yet to be made an amendment. Do you know, that women in the USA's only actual legal right as it is now ,based on the Bill of Rights, is our right to vote? It was not until the 1990's that women could refuse sex with their spouse, so marital rape was VERY common and not frowned upon. Could I go on? Sure, I could, but I imagine it will fall on deaf ears from men that refuse to see that women, not just in this industry, have to deal with a lot of BS due to this patriarchal design.

I, as a woman,and photographer, had had to deal with a lot of bs from my male counterparts. I have been sexually harassed, and was assaulted once, by male photographers. I have had so much vitriol spewed towards me for being a woman, in a male dominated field, it's truly insane. I've been robbed, followed, harassed, had my privacy invaded and threatened with violence by multiple male photographers. Does that negate that men too may have gone through those issues? Nope! The problem is that when men decide to start a pissing match when it comes to what happens, when we're talking about women's issues, it completely demeans the very thing women are trying to fight for, equality. As if talking about women's issues someone undermines male issues. It doesn't, but when talking about women's issues, it's about WOMEN. We also need to talk about men's issues, but NOT WHEN TALKING ABOUT WOMEN'S ISSUES! Pretty simple. But so many men refuse to see that there is a separation there, and women are very supportive of men's issues, men's rights and dismantling the patriarchy that has made men into what they are right now.

Yes, ambassadors should be chosen based on skill level or merit alone, not just gender. However, when this male dominated field willfully disregards one gender over the other, and yes they do it, then that is an issue. Uplifting minority voices, which intersectionality is also a huge thing to talk about, does not take away from the majority. It, however, gives those voices a equal fighting chance, one they were not allowed to have for DECADES. Voices from people that were forced, cast aside, under paid, over worked, and kept out of the 'boy's club' , for far too long simply because they were not one of the boys. Because they were women. Because men seem to think that if women are given a chance it will somehow undermine them, or is wronging them in some fashion. We're not trying to undermine your efforts. We're not trying to wrong you the same way we have been. No. What we're trying to do is actually be seen as equal to you, and not be harassed because we are women.

*Que the downvotes and hate filled comments*

Hi Seraphine. Thank you for that. It's experiences like yours that I heard of that prompted me to write this article. I have also seen the bigoted comments that some make. Interestingly, the split of upvotes on your comment is currently a 50/50 split between men and women, which is heartening.

I don't know what the issue is that some people have with equality because it is a basic human right.

I am sorry for the bad experience you had before. I've only been here a year, and I believe the women writers we have here feel supported. I know the editors do act upon any bigoted comments that are made when they become aware of them.

But I hope that this article will encourage a change in everybody's behavior, readers included, and we all start noticing and acting upon the misogyny.

Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing your experiences and I hope you will return to share your excellent work with us. If you do, and if some small-minded idiot makes misogynistic comments - they probably will because they have to try to compensate for their own inadequacies somehow - then please do report it and feel free to message me if it isn't sorted promptly. I'll quite happily wave the flag behind the scenes to help get it actioned quickly.

Anybody else reading this, please do report it too. If it isn't reported, then it cannot be acted upon.

Your article and premise have certainly spurred quite a bit of give and take. For the most part I have found the comments thoughtful and responsible. The statement that there is inequality in female representation in the photographic Ambassador brand pool is factual. One could also make similar statements regarding the ethnicity of this same pool. This would certainly round out your issues of equality.
However, as some have said; statements of fact do not always lead to accurate conclusions. Your list below of Canon's egregious examples does not address and identify how many qualified female photographers there are in areas such as the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the EMEA. I am sure there are more qualified women--but how many in these areas--I don't know.
And what about other metrics to make decisions about representation? Marketing, demographics of their current and expected customers? Don't business's have the right to make these decisions? If they are bad decisions, then the business may suffer and other businesses will seize the opportunity to increase their market share. Darwin knew his 'business'. As an aside; Canon has been increasing their market share world wide. Why? Don't answer as there are too many factors here to simply summarize.
Now continuing with your premise. As of 2020, The World Bank (and others) have said that women comprise of 49.584% of the world population. Therefore, why aren't women represented in the same percentage across the board? Don't answer. We all know that one cannot arbitrarily apply factual statistics to draw factual conclusions without more analysis. What is the percentage of female editorial writers at Fstoppers? Or for that matter, senior management? Or freelance writers? Are the men and women at Fstoppers paid exactly the same for the 'same' work?
This is not actually to be critical; it is to say that simple statements may be misleading. The conversation is beneficial none the less.
My only issue taken here as inappropriate is @ Robert K Baggs;'.....Photography ought to be an incredibly progressive industry given its foundation in the arts, but the ambassador rosters have been a constant source of embarrassment on that front.' You started out great, but went into the tank with your political commentary.
In fact (oops..my bad!); Pew 2020 research shows that the US Democratic Party identifies as 38% liberal with 15% of that group as 'Progressive'. And moderate and conservative democrats comprise 52% of the party. Gallup's recent poll found that 25% of the population identified as liberal, 37% as moderate, and 36% as conservative. And, 7% as 'very liberal'. So, does this mean that any guide for 'representation' should be based on this demographic in a particular region? Of course not. But other factors need to be brought into a discussion before drawing a conclusion from similar statements of 'fact'. And personal conclusions that attack other's views should not be part of any forum.

Thanks for the comment, JK. During my research looking at the split between men and women photographers in developed countries, it was fairly consistent at between 60/40 men to women but as close as 55/45 in some areas, and these figures are getting closer; I did similar research ten years ago and there are more women photographers now.

Yes, I am sure there are cultural differences in some countries, but I don't have peer-reviewed empirical data to back up that assumption.

Nevertheless, in the USA and Europe, two areas that shout about freedom and equality, there is a big deficit of women in the industry.

You ask a question and then demand that I do not answer. I'm going to anyway because it's an easy reply. Why are women not represented equally? Because a lot of institutions are misogynistic.

I do wonder whether you are misinterpreting Robert's comment or misunderstanding the meaning of the word progressive. It means moving forward in stages, which has been a characteristic of the arts since time immemorial. He didn't mention the political meaning of the word.

I encourage more women becoming ambassadors of the major photography related companies however there are other groups where this is also needed.

Photographers from disadvantaged backgrounds regardless of gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Photographers from Africa telling stories about their continent through their lens (pun intended) regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

The same as above for Central America, South America and Asia.

I agree, Stephane, and I want to talk about that in another article. This article is about one particular issue, and digressing may dilute the matter. If the camera companies stand up and take note, and if right-thinking people whose minds are not tainted with bigotry wave the flag of equality, then it might bring about change.

I think that it's amazing that he is. Shows that he's thinking about the people you describe, and not just himself and his "white, male, buddies". I think that if you want progressive steps to be made, then you should support those who take them, not criticize them. Your comments are achieving the opposite of what you intend them to. Do consider that.

I wouldn't engage with him, Susheel. Either he doesn't understand equality and he's trolling, or he does understand equality and objects to it and he's trolling. I'm not sure which is worse.

Great article. Thank you

Thanks Jeff.

When the auto industry found out that something like 65% of car buying decisions were either made or influenced by women the advertising changed and the women were not just in the background playing beach volleyball or the passenger seat or with the kids.
They were driving the cars alone or with other women! And not just budget cars, expensive ones!
the camera companies will also figure that out...

As of the time I write this, there are only 3 self identified women present in this comment section. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why.

I just can’t understand what drives you, angry men who get so worked up whenever the problem of gender inequality is given daylight. What does it cost you to live in a world where women enjoy equivalent status and recognition as their male counterparts? What irks you so much about anyone making the argument that women as a whole are disenfranchised in various ways as compared to men? What is it that you are defending? What do you stand to lose? What’s your stake? What is being taken from you when women are given respect, representation, or remuneration?

I want to give props to Ivor, because gender inequity is a male problem, not a female one. And many men remain too quiet on this issue.

Men need to speak up and identify the inequity if we’re all ever gonna to get over the finish line. Not everyone is going to change their opinions, but some people who will ignore an article penned by a woman will give consideration when a middle aged white guy writes literally the same thing. Which is gross, but that’s the problem in a nutshell. Actually I’d argue Ivor’s article is more aggressive than Kate’s. As a man he’s free to punch you in the face with his opinion unimpeded, whereas Kate had to clad her thesis in armor and attempt to be as non-threatening as possible lest she disturb any fragile egos. Not that it made a difference, since she still got a ton of flak.

To fstoppers editorial team, you may already do this, but if not: have you thought about asking women what would attract them to a platform such as yours? What kind of articles, what kind of environment would make it more appealing? Of course you’re aware of the things that drive them away, but what about the things that would make you an attractive outlet to work for? The things that would attract female readership? If you look at some place like dpreview, and the depressing, argumentative, socially illiterate sausage swamp that is their “community” you can get a pretty good read on what not to do.

But what about the things you’re not doing that you could be doing? There’s a s**t ton of female photographers out there, and really none of the major photography websites are an easy landing for women. Even if you weren’t socially conscious and just a cold, uncaring business: it’s a huge untapped market. Even if changing tack causes you to lose some male readers. When it comes to your readership I’d say you’d have more to gain by trading a set of regressive male eyeballs for a set of fresh female ones - readers that could help expand your market.

And as a bonus I’m sure the quality of discourse would improve, as women are less inclined to try to bludgeon each other to death with their opinions.

On one hand, this isn't surprising - at least toward the commercial end of the spectrum. I am graduating next month with an MFA in Photography. What surprises me is that those who identify as males only comprise of about 37% of the photography students, spanning students in the AA thru MFA programs. Maybe female photographers lean more toward academics? Just a thought.

That's similar to those studying photography in the UK. The courses were once male-dominated, but there has been equality for a long time. Would you not expect those in key positions to hold academic qualifications?

I wonder if you folks have considered *not* having a comment section on your articles? I understand that you likely find value in some sense of online community — but IF said community is a cesspool of toxicity (one that, if I am to understand your editor-in-chief's remark, has literally cost you female writers), then perhaps it isn't worth it.

I worked for years as a designer at a large content website. We struggled for years with trying to keep up with moderation of comments (not to censor; just to remove the truly vile ones) until we eventually made the decision to remove the comments section entirely from our articles. There was no discernible difference to site traffic, and it freed up a lot of resources that had previously been spent playing comment cops.

That is a great idea, and exactly how Petapixel.com photography new website operates. There is no loss in traffic, and the articles are always opinion and bias free.

Not sure what you mean because Petapixel does have a comment section.

That's interesting. I've never noticed because comments are disabled on some articles. I usually just share them on my own site for a discussion.

I don't know what criteria they use, but, only a very very small percentage are closed to comments. For instance, their entire first page, excluding the article where they are looking to hire and want you to fill out a form, the comment sections are enabled.

Terrible idea. Can't go around taking things away just because of a couple of bad actors. This site actually has one of the more subdued comments compared to others.

Girls Rule!!!

" On the Nikon website, only five of their twenty-five European ambassadors are women."

Yet, when we need to get something done, we work with Nikon's rep who is a woman. Over the last several years, she has facilitated our support of Nikon in our product.

Stop searching websites. Start contacting the companies and find out who you need to contact in order to get things done.

I think the perfect ambassadorship program would have two basic components, quality and potential viewership. Women in photography can actually help grow the profession and industry. A sports photographer reaches that community and it's heavily weighted towards a male population. What if that same group was able to reach an up and coming female group? It benefits the industry as a whole. Think about that 12 year old girl seeing a woman with a camera on the sideline of a football game. She says, "I want to be her!" That's why increasing females in Ambassador programs is a plus, they can reach a new audience.

Well, as I am an old white man I suppose it is not surprising that I had not noticed.

Since a lot of the photographers I follow are women, I might be forgiven, I never noticed it wasn't a decent percentage.

I am heading to a workshop in May and only 1/3 of the six instructors are female.

Another reason I might not have noticed is that the percentage of people who work at the zoos I frequent is overwhelmingly female. At my favorite zoo, I think it might be 90% in the animal care area, 70% or so in Education. As for the volunteers? Probably again over 70%.

So if there is discrimination in the photography world, I am a little surprised. Sad, but I suppose it is a good thing for Ivor to point it out.

Maybe it's just me, and I may not be well enough informed, but personally I view this matter as a non-issue and kind of so much ado about nothing. I think there simply are way fewer women interested in serious photography. It's probably just human nature. (Should we campaign for more men to become experts in makeup and cosmetic arts?) Yet, actually, if you care to look, there are so many excellent female YouTubers talking photography. And every time I come across one, I am gladdened at the find and feel like celebrating. They are genuine talents even if they are not your "ambassadors."

Absolute equality in photography may be achieved somehow, but the result may be one that's artificial, contrived, forced and unnecessary.

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