In a male-dominated industry, this website showcases female and non-binary talents in photojournalism
Women Photograph is a non-profit organization launched in 2017 to give exposure to women and nonbinary individuals working in photojournalism. Its catalog includes more than 1300 independent photographers based in over 100 countries and serves media companies promoting equality and diversity within their workforce.
Women Photograph offers financial support to various projects and tutoring programs and a yearly workshop for developing skills. It also provides a traveling fund to improve opportunities for professional development for underrepresented groups in the media industry.
Read on to learn how this female photographers' organization came to be and how it is making an impact in photojournalism.
In 2017, US documentary photographer Daniella Zalcman became fed up with hearing the same excuse whenever she asked why there weren’t more women or non-binary people working in her team. According to the media industry, it was hard to find talented people within these groups. Zalcman, who works as a photo reporter between Paris and New York, and has been awarded the Pulitzer Center prize several times for her coverage of global issues, decided it was time to demonstrate the opposite.
The photographer collected all her contacts and put together an easy-to-access database so that nobody could have an excuse to leave out women and non-binary talent. While working on her report aimed at exposing the problems of vulnerable groups, such as aboriginal communities and people discriminated against for their sexuality, she created Women Photograph.
Quickly, thanks to Zalcman’s connections and credibility in her field, this idea took to the world, and Women Photograph became a worldwide talent recruiter. The current online catalog includes 1300 photographs from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North and South America, Europe, and Oceania.
The selection committee–who grant patronage and support to these professional photographers–include Mallory Benedict, culture and history photography editor at National Geographic; Sara Ickow, curatorial coordinator at International Center of Photography and manager of exhibitions and special projects; and Vi Nguyen, a prestigious American educator, among others.
Emerging photographers and more established names grace this list, such as four-time Pulitzer prize winner Carol Guzy, who, despite her recognition, still claims she is not getting as many opportunities as her male counterparts.
More recently, the organization decided to study its data to analyze how its visual journalists are contracted and published in the industry. The data is available for academic and journalistic use and is shared weekly in Women Photograph’s Twitter account. The percentage of female participation within the most prominent worldwide media outlets is analyzed. An annual report is presented at the end of the year to verify whether progress has been made.
The annual balance for 2020 revealed a surprising outcome: in 365 days, the women and non-binary individuals who had contributed with their photos were 10% in Le Monde (France) and 8% in The Guardian (United Kingdom). The highest percentage recorded was 30% in The New York Times.