Why We Need More Stock Photos of Women of Color in Tech

by | Dec 11, 2015 | Web Design

As a consequence of my work as a web designer, I often have to use stock photos. I’ve written about this previously. I’ve written about how often we see the same old tired images over and over again, and at some level, the same old tired faces over and over again.

You can imagine my surprise when I found out about the stock photos offered by the Women of Color in Tech chat (#WOCinTechChat) on Twitter. Here were images of women of different ethnicities and different backgrounds photographed in a business environment with tech tools. This may seem trivial, until you have to search through many 100’s of stock photos until you can find one that’s “kinda OK”.

“You can’t be what you can’t see”

The inability to readily find these images exposes a broader problem in the tech industry and the STEM fields in general— the relative under-representation of women and people of color of both genders. The #WOCinTechChat initiative is doing its part to help close this gap. Many people have used the quote attributed to Marian Wright Edelman, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and in the STEM fields this is especially true. If you can’t see the faces and hear the stories of people who look like you having success, it can be hard for a young woman or man to imagine embarking on a career in those fields.

So, here’s the inevitable ask. If you’re a woman color in the tech industry in the New York City area, please consider participating in the next photo shoot. You can sign up online to get more information on dates and location. Especially needed in this round are women whose years of hard fought experience has left them with a few silver threads in their hair (yes, I’m asking older women to show up and show out). Your participation will help make it more common to see examples of people of color in the Tech industry and it will also make my job of finding the right (positive) image easier.

You can download the free stock photos from the first shoot on Flickr.

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