iStock & Tradeswomen Australia challenge Industry Bias Through New Visuals

iStock & Tradeswomen Australia challenge Industry Bias Through New Visuals

iStock, an e-commerce platform providing premium content and Tradeswomen Australia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the representation of women in skilled trade roles, have released new images of real Australian female tradies.

Available now for the media and advertising industries to view, licence and use in their next project or campaign, these images aim to empower brands with content that drives a more authentic representation of female tradies in Australia.  

While many brands and businesses are working towards greater inclusion, some still use outdated stock imagery that doesn’t reflect the reality of many industries — tradies are no exception.

In fact, according to iStock’s visual research platform, VisualGPS,  70% of women in ANZ do not feel represented by everyday images. Media and advertising still struggle to represent multiple intersections of identity, such as race and ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, bodies and religion.

Through updated visuals that reflect the diversity and authentic representation of Australia’s trade industry, iStock is challenging the status quo and breaking stereotypes so that brands can lead the way in changing perception.

TWA and iStock call on Australian businesses to join them in redefining how women are represented in the images we see around us every single day, especially where systemic and structural gender inequality continues to be a major issue. 

These images, taken by Australian Photographer Louise Beaumont, feature five real female tradies, selected from Tradeswomen Australia’s community, instead of models in an effort to prevent tokenism, and will feature in Project #ShowUs the world’s largest stock photo library created in partnership with Dove by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes by showing women as they are, not as others believe they should be:

  • Safa Hablas – a gardener who runs her own business, based in Melbourne — Horticulture 
  • Luisa Pardo – working as an mechanic apprentice, based in Melbourne — Automotive
  • Keeley Mason – aviation apprentice, based in Cairns — Aviation
  • Jennah Halley –  plumbing apprentice specialising in HVAC, based in Cairns — Construction
  • Kate Lucas –  electrician and 2021 ETU National Apprentice of the Year, based in Melbourne — Electrical

These images come at a pivotal time for Australia’s trade industries which face persistent, national shortages of skilled labour and a critical need to lift female workforce participation. According to Tradeswomen Australia, women’s representation in core trades remains at less than 2 per cent, with ‘lack of engagement and ‘social misconceptions’ key barriers to making trades an attractive career path for women. 

“Tradies are quintessentially Australian, making up almost a third of the workforce. But the visual representation of tradies hasn’t kept up with Australia’s richly diverse population,” said Kate Rourke, Getty Images and iStock head of creative, APAC.

By tapping into Tradeswomen Australia’s community to find real female tradies from different backgrounds, working across a range of industries, we hope to foster not only a more meaningful, authentic and inclusive representation of tradies in visual storytelling, but to raise reflection on how other underrepresented groups are being visualised in media and advertising.”

Fiona McDonald, the founder of Tradeswomen Australia, said: “We know that greater connection is made with our community when we show real tradeswomen in our communications.

 “But as a not-for-profit organisation, we have limited resources to build our own library of quality images and found that current stock imagery does not accurately reflect female tradeswomen and undervalues the hard work they do.” 

“We’re excited to partner with iStock to support our goal of increasing the representation of diverse women in trade settings, with the many industry associations and businesses that we partner with. Visual representation in Australia’s trade industries matters; you can’t be what you can’t see.” 

iStock will continue to add images and videos to the gallery, with more opportunities for inspiring Australian tradies to be photographed and featured.

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