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To See How Few Women There Are at the Top, Photoshop Out the Men

If you watched the Democratic primary debate last night, one thing probably stood out to you, regardless of your political leanings: Hillary Clinton was the only woman on the stage. In fact, as far as American politics is concerned, one out of five is just about the norm: currently, women hold 104 out of 535 seats in Congress, a 19.4 percent average. (It gets worse if you look at women of color – 31.7 percent of the number of women, and just 6.2 percent of the total.) Of course, we love data, but numbers can seem abstract. Sometimes, you can't beat a good visualization to really see the problem. Recently, British Elle's feminism issue gave us just that, with a video that shows men gradually removed from photos of politics in action ... leaving just a few women behind.

If you watched the Democratic primary debate last night, one thing probably stood out to you, regardless of your political leanings: Hillary Clinton was the only woman on the stage. In fact, as far as American politics is concerned, one out of five is just about the norm: currently, women hold 104 out of 535 seats in Congress, a 19.4 percent average. (It gets worse if you look at women of color – 31.7 percent of the number of women, and just 6.2 percent of the total.) Of course, we love data, but numbers can seem abstract. Sometimes, you can’t beat a good visualization to really see the problem. Recently, British Elle‘s feminism issue gave us just that, with a video that shows men gradually removed from photos of politics in action … leaving just a few women behind.

more women 

(Photo Credit: Screenshot from More Women)

Called More Women, the video takes a global approach: we see the Queen, surrounded by empty chairs, and Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton alone at separate conference tables. We see parliament empty and the UN vacant, and Hollywood power players dwindle to Angeline Jolie.

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Take a look for yourself:

Here’s a case in which Photoshop is a tool and not trickery: the ratios shown here are pretty representative. Consider this:

  • Only 24 of Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO.
  • Forbes‘ list of world billionaires shows only 197 female billionaires, out of 1,826 billionaires total.
  • Male bylines outnumbered female bylines on the front pages of top newspapers nearly 3-to-1 in 2012, according to Women’s Media Center.

So, in short, men make most of the laws and earn most of the big money, and the person who’s reporting on both is likely to also be a male. If reading about that doesn’t bother us, well, maybe seeing it will.

Elle is using the video to launch a new campaign. In a statement, the editors said:

“We want to change this narrative in our Feminism issue and create a more positive conversation – to reflect the power of women, and to support and grow each other as we push for global equality.”

They invite women to post pictures of themselves with their powerful groups of women on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with this pledge: “One woman’s success makes EVERY WOMAN STRONGER. More women for #morewomen #ELLEFeminism.”

h/t: Quartz

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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