When I covered the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang in 2018, I learned through the International Olympic Committee breakdown of validated press accreditations that 2,309 (80.9 per cent) were male and 544 (19.1 per cent) were female. Within the 544 women, only 77 (10.3 per cent) were accredited female photographers out of the total of 744 photographers from 50 countries. I was one of the 77 accredited female photographers in the global event.
While gender equality has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, these statistics illustrate that inequality still persists in the realm of visual culture and that there is a chronic lack of diversity and visibility of women in the photography industry. That women are underrepresented within the sports media space reflects the same reality in other industries. In order to redistribute the cards equitably, I believe we must set the stage so more women can pursue what they would like to do.
Even with the advancement of digital technology, photography has remained a significant tool for change—capturing the present, preserving the past, and holding immense power to impact and unite people. I believe it is crucial to create a community of women photographers, as it provides a direct female perspective and in turn shapes how society views women. Be it a hobby or a profession, and across domains from photojournalism to fashion photography, it’s important to have—and document—a female perspective.
Female visibility has been a fallacy: we see women everywhere but we see them in a very limited way. The female perspective in photography provides a wealth of insights, enabling a broader range of talent and empowering women photographers the world over to share their own stories. It could be as simple as a mother photographing their child or someone doing a self-portrait. Such diversity makes for a richer and more nuanced collection of visual representation; by reframing the world through the female gaze, we create “a whole new visual language and, in turn, a visual identity for women (and men)”.