Ask your kids to take a look at the images of women in the workplace they see online for an excellent lesson in media literacy. Likely, they will find stock photos – photos bought from image services like Getty Images and Shutterstock – that show women in one of three categories: a woman with glasses who could be a librarian or a secretary, a woman with a baby on her lap trying to work on her computer, or a woman standing atop a shorter stack of money than the man next to her is standing on. None of these images are very encouraging to young women entering the job market.
Recently, the massive stock photography company, Getty Images, announced a partnership with LeanIn.org, the organization started by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to advance women’s issues. Together, they have created a library of 2,500 stock images, called the Lean In Collection, that features new, more empowering portraits of women in addition to drawing on the best (that is, least stereotypical) of Getty’s existing images. Some might say this is a symbolic move, but never underestimate the power of pictures.