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Girls & Women

Should we photoshop men out of pictures?

At Global Citizen we believe in equality for all, and that includes women. Unfortunately, women are still very under-represented in parliaments around the world.
Last year, women made up just 21.8% of national legislators around the world, while just 9 out of 152 heads of state (5.9%) were women. In the UK, female representation in Westminster is 23%, while in the US female representation in Congress is 19%.
While gender quotas (a specific rule saying that a certain share of positions must be filled by women) might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I think we can all agree that having our best talent in key roles is important, and that a big gender imbalance in parliaments is holding us back from achieving that.
Let me draw your attention to the below image from the ultra-conservative Israeli newspaper HaMevaser from Monday which shows world leaders participating in the Paris Unity marches, which we reported on earlier. Notice anything unusual with this? Take a closer look and see if you can notice it, or rather, what can’t you see.
Image: HaMevaser
No women. That’s right, they photoshopped all the women out of the image. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and the EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, amongst others. Why? Some ideological agendas get pushed so hard that warping reality isn’t seen as a problem.
Fittingly, in the spirit of the French response to the recent brutality in Paris, the best response to this has been from a satire news source. On Tuesday, the Irish website Waterford Whispers News reimagined the same photograph, except this time with all the men edited out.
Not only is this a witty response to the bizarre sexism of the original image, it also highlights the sad truth that I was referring to earlier about the lack of female politicians and leaders. The education and full involvement of women and girls in society is something we’re passionate about as Global Citizens, and satire can be used to highlight some important points.
Let us know what you think in the comments. Do you think gender quotas are a good idea overall? Should we condemn a newspaper for photoshopping the image to remove all women, or would we in turn be restricting freedom of speech?
Mikey Smyth