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Breaking Glass

Three images of women in business you have to see to believe

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This photo turns up when you do a stock image search for
This photo turns up when you do a stock image search for "women in business." - ()

I heard the news today that Sheryl Sandberg, of Facebook and Lean In fame, has teamed up with Getty Images to create a library of stock images that offer a powerful depiction of women. As someone who blogs about women in business, I can appreciate the need for such a collection. Just take a look at what images pop up when you time in some seemingly empowering search terms, such as “women in business.”

The woman working away on her toilet seat was on the first page of my search results (really, the first page). Although I can appreciate the implication that women are excellent multitaskers, I don't know any who take it to the extreme of hauling their laptops with them into the restroom

The woman with her hair blowing in what appears to be gale-force winds—well, I don't really know how that is supposed to represent "women in business." She is wearing a suit, which I guess is the only qualifier you need.


And then there's the woman packing up a suitcase. Again, she's wearing a suit, but we can't even see her face. The pose is just the slightest bit suggestive, and then there's the fact that the suitcase she is trying unsuccessfully to close is stuffed to the brim with clothes. You know us women; we always pack too much.


(I also can't forget one particularly memorable image of "women in construction" I stumbled across a few months back.)

Stock images like that are why I'm so excited to learn about the new Lean In Collection that Sandberg and Getty Images have put together. It features more than 2,500 images of "female leadership in contemporary work and life," and the photos, from what I can tell, offer a much more realistic take.

And the best part? A portion of the proceeds (stock images don't come for free) will go toward the creation of Getty Images grants for images showcasing female empowerment and to supporting the mission of LeanIn.org.

For a glimpse at some of the images in the collection, click here.

(And a special thanks to Heather Hardwick of Sun National Bank for cluing me in to the news!)


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