CEOs, carpenters, and many others capture images of modern women entrepreneurs and business owners.
We aren’t ashamed to admit that traditional stock photography can reinforce stereotypical roles within society. This is particularly true for images of small-business owners and female entrepreneurs. If you look for images of female entrepreneurs on stock markets, you will find traditional feminine roles such as florists, baristas, coffee shop owners, artists and painters. We know this doesn’t accurately reflect the modern female entrepreneur.
Today’s article will explore what a female-led business looks like, how important it is to share these images accurately, and creative tips on capturing photos of female entrepreneurs that reflect today’s women.
How Media and Advertising Represent Female Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders
It’s amazing to see the diversity of female-led businesses around the globe. Advertising is a crucial conversation that needs to be had about how female business leaders and entrepreneurs are represented. Images of female founders are often distorted. These images show a middle-aged white woman running a small business in retail, hospitality or service. This image is not representative of the extraordinary power of female entrepreneurs in business.
These are the top three sectors in which women-owned employers firms have a strong presence, and they’re not what you might expect. This annual report is from the National Women’s Business Council. The top three industries with women-owned businesses are listed as follows:
- Social Assistance and Health Care:16.9%
- Technical, Scientific, and Professional Services: 16.4%
- Retail Trade 11.7%
Women in STEM Need Visibility in Media
Many of our favourite women-led companies are not in retail or service. It’s also unfortunate that women in STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math rarely see themselves in the media. What message does this send to young women dreamers? Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, a CEO of a biotech company, is India’s most wealthy woman with a net worth of $480 million. Melinda Gates, former General Manager at Microsoft, has been ranked among the most powerful women worldwide and is an outstanding advocate for women and girls working in the business.
While women are making incredible strides in STEM, they are still remarkably underrepresented in media visuals. What number of times do you see images of female scientists in the lab? A female Silicon Valley professional performing cyber security analysis. It is not very common in this industry, dominated by men.
Women in Business Is a Trillion Dollar Industry
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, American women own over 11.6 million businesses. These businesses had a combined sales volume of over $1.7 trillion as of 2017. Women-owned and empowered businesses are experiencing remarkable growth. Marketers need to pay attention.
We are seeing more women-owned businesses and more brands recognizing their women-owned and managed businesses around the globe. Women owning and operating businesses are now a matter of public record. It’s something that people actively seek out and support. Brands need to be aware of the public’s perceptions of their social standing and values as consumers become more conscious about their buying decisions. The Women-Owned logo illustrates this awareness. This movement allows consumers to identify products or businesses owned, operated and controlled by women at least 51%.
Important Statistics to Encourage More Representative Female Entrepreneur Images
Women-led businesses are growing in popularity. They need to be represented more accurately in the job titles and career paths. If you need more proof that this market is important, here are some statistics.
- In 2019, $1.9 Trillion in U.S. economic revenue was generated by women-owned businesses.
- 94.2 million workers are employed by women-owned businesses, which make up 42% of all U.S. companies.
- The last twenty years have seen a 114% increase in female entrepreneurs.
- The average female business owner has been in operation for more than a decade.
3 Tips on Accurately Depicting Female Entrepreneurs in Images
We have three top tips for creatives looking to capture new images of female entrepreneurs in the business. When choosing images for their advertising, brands should expand their definitions of successful entrepreneurs.
Tip #1: Be open to the possibility of representing diversity in age and ethnicity
The number of companies women of colour have increased 43% between 2014 and 2019 and show no signs of slowing. Women of colour need to be represented in today’s media. Age is also important. As the stat above demonstrates, the vast majority of female entrepreneurs have been in business for over a decade. Female entrepreneurs need to be represented in images. Make sure that your images represent young female entrepreneurs at the peak of their careers and depict successful female-led businesses with tenure in the industry.
Tip #2: Show the “Side-Hustle” in Female-Led Business Images
It doesn’t matter if a woman business owner is a mom or a regular office worker with a side-hustle related to their passion. Representing side businesses in today’s media is crucial. Compared to regular, full-time female-led entrepreneurship, the side-hustle has doubled in the last five years. These are some ideas for how to depict side-hustles in photos.
- Work from home allows you to balance family responsibilities
- You can work in the evening using computers or other technology devices
- Fulfilment of orders and shipment of locally-made products
- You can work in creative spaces at your homes, such as garage offices or office backyards.
Tip #3: Look beyond the box when it comes to business types
Representing female business owners in different industries is more than representing retail and service positions. Expand your horizons and think beyond traditional, female-oriented jobs. Experts predict that the number of women-owned businesses within the utility sector will increase in the future. Make sure that your female entrepreneur’s images represent many industries, particularly those traditionally male-dominated.