By Laura James
Photojournalism is an industry that is still dominated by men. Suzanne Plunkett, award winning photojournalist, reaffirmed this fact during the Photojournalism Hub’s talk event last Monday. She recounted her impressive career and highlighted that she was always among only a handful of women photographers within a sea of men when working for agencies. Her lived experience can be reflected in the fact that ‘just 18% of the AOP’s accredited photographers and assistant photographers are women.’ (Steven: 2019). Along with the clear gender bias towards employing male photographers, she also touched on issues of sexism from managers in agencies, not being taken as seriously as her male counterparts and the lack of demand for stories that cover important female issues.
Talking about these issues was pertinently timed as International Women’s Day was to be celebrated just 6 days ahead of the talk. The theme of this year’s IWD was Each for Equal – aiming to help create a more equal world where women are always on the same platform as men. Suzanne, along with Chiara Ceolin and Quintina Valero (the two other speakers at the event) are certainly helping to create gender equality by doing such amazing work with women around the world and documenting their stories. They have worked on projects with victims of female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and female prison.
By having more amazing female photojournalists in the industry we are creating a levelled playing field and going against a male centric selection of stories in the media. We need to keep recognising the achievements of female photographers and those who are telling the stories of women to come closer to a world where gender discrimination is a thing of the past.