Stock photos are those generic images used in everything from billboards to political ads, but just because they’re ubiquitous doesn’t mean they’re politically correct. A search of Getty Images, a major stock photo website, for “businesswomen” brings up lots of sexy secretaries in revealing outfits, but few images of actual women doing actual work. Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In movement hopes to change that, and has joined with Getty to curate a series of photos showing professional women without any sexual pretense.
Curating photos isn’t exactly storming the Bastille, but it’s increasingly important. Social media postings go viral more readily with images attached, and a smutty stock photo can spread quickly online. Ensuring women are respectfully depicted in stock images is a 21st-century way to address an old problem: Some people still need reminding that women belong in the workplace.