Of the many strands of diversity, gender and gender equality has been "top of the charts" within the corporate world for many years now. Gender targets for Boards and senior committees are the norm, companies are required to publish reports on their gender pay gap, and industry and sector-based initiatives such as the Women in Finance Charter are helping push towards greater transparency and accountability. But we can't overlook the small, day-to-day things that continue to perpetuate stereotypes and infiltrate our subconscious. This report, (Gendered representations of money in visual media, a study) commissioned by Starling Bank as part of their #makemoneyequal campaign is eye-opening.
The team conducting the study collected 600 images from the UK’s leading image libraries, selecting the most popular images for ‘men’ and ‘women’, combined with the labels ‘money’, ‘banking’, ‘loans’ and ‘finance’. Having analysed the resulting data set, they found clear distinctions in the portrayal of men and women. Women were often depicted as financially 'naive', handing small amounts of money (putting pennies in a piggy bank), dressed casually and placed in soft, domestic environments. In contrast, men were often portrayed holding wads of notes, dressed in suits, making deals and using modern technology. The study concluded that the imagery in this context reinforced unhelpful, outdated gender stereotypes.
A few tips from the Linklaters D&I team on critically assessing the imagery in your work product :
- Does it show a diverse range of people (gender, race, age, (dis)ability, socioeconomic background, religion) doing a diverse range of actions?
- Does it play into stereotypes?
- Do the images used imply the status of the people in them?
I'm certainly not at home wide-eyed and clutching a piggy bank.
We’ve worked with researchers at Brunel University who have analysed over 600 photographs used for articles about money and finance, We found that men and women were depicted very differently. Men were shown as being in control and making financial decisions, whilst women were shown clutching piggy banks and counting pennies.