Anne Mannion: International Womens Day 2021
8 March 2021
As the AOP celebrates International Women’s Day, we salute the many outstanding women professional photographers. Yet as we recognise our talented women members, it begs the question – why aren’t there more of them?
We know that more women graduate from photography courses than men, yet women are not being commissioned in the same numbers as men are. More women drop out of our business than men and despite our best efforts to achieve equality and diversity in our membership, it remains a cause of concern to the AOP that the majority of our members are men, by a significant factor.
Clearly, it isn’t that women photographers don’t have the skills! You only have to look at the fantastic work on the AOP Spotlight Focus of image-making from our f22 members on Instagram to see the exceptional artistry, creativity and different perspectives that women bring to our craft.
Creativity needs support and this can sometimes be hard to come by. As fledgling photographers, is it that women are not receiving critical early encouragement? Women who don’t find immediate success may give up their dreams and ambition, settling for parallel roles in this or other industries.
Young women photographers who have opted for alternative careers told me that there aren’t the same opportunities for women. Photography course leaders are mostly men; the guest speakers are mostly men. Experience showed that men mostly hire men unless it is for a traditionally “female” job. Even when it comes to assisting, predominately, the jobs that are paid more with more responsibility go to men.
Working mothers are still overwhelmingly saddled with managing the home and providing primary childcare. However, female photographers are endlessly creative and find ways to work around such restraints on their time. It doesn’t seem that women drop out because they have children, although this may be a factor. Women seem to give up their ambitions at an earlier stage than that. Finances of course play a part, but the main problem seems to be that women are too far removed from opportunity.
Women deserve a rewarding creative career too. The AOP has made it a priority to better understand why women give up their photography careers and to open a dialogue as we continue on our path to provide support to all women photographers to achieve an equal future.
Anne Mannion - AOP Chair & Senior Associate, Swan Turton LLP