Canon got it right on International Women's Day
|Photo by Mario Calvo on Unsplash|
"For International Women's Day, Canon..." as I read the subject line of the email, I cringe at the possible endings to that sentence.
Not outside the realm of possibilities is something like, "Releases Commemorative Pink Camera Strap!" In 2018 I think we're better than that. Probably. I keep reading.
"...Lends Support to 'Women Photograph'" is how it ends, and I feel a real sense of relief. This was an organization I knew and had covered in the past. It aims to 'elevate the voices of female visual journalists,' offering an additional resource for editors as well as grants and workshops for female photographers. I read on.
"Canon will work with Women Photograph to aid their travel grant program which funds female and non-binary photographers to attend workshops, hostile environment trainings, festivals, and other developmental opportunities."
If you're a brand looking to grab a slice of the #MeToo pie, you could definitely do much worse than this. Case in point: McDonald's put on a master class this year in getting it wrong. The fast food giant announced that it would be turning its logo upside down to recognize International Women's Day... a "W" instead of an "M"... for women... get it? Critics spoke up quickly, pointing out that it felt like an empty gesture coming from a company that can afford to do much more.
The upside down arches were on my mind when I started reading that press release from Canon this morning, so it felt very reassuring to see the brand pledging real support behind an effort created by, and created for, women photographers. Sure, it's all marketing at the end of the day, and I truly hope Canon's support of Women Photograph doesn't begin and end with a one-time workshop. Issuing a press release is cheap. Following through, and staying committed in the long term isn't.
But if you're going to talk about supporting women on International Women's Day, please don't just give us an empowering logo and a T-shirt. Instead, put your money where your mouth is.
CANON U.S.A. LENDS ITS SUPPORT TO WOMEN PHOTOGRAPH, AN INITIATIVE CREATED TO PROMOTE THE REPRESENTATION OF FEMALE PHOTOJOURNALISTS
Association Will Help Elevate the Voices of Female and Non-binary Photographers
MELVILLE, N.Y., March 8, 2018 – In conjunction with International Women’s Day (IWD), the global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is excited to announce their association with Women Photograph, a movement created to promote the representation of female photojournalists. Canon will work with Women Photograph to aid their travel grant program which funds female and non-binary photographers to attend workshops, hostile environment trainings, festivals, and other developmental opportunities.
Launched in 2017 and founded by photojournalist Daniella Zalcman, Women Photograph is an initiative to shift the gender makeup of the photojournalism community. A private database that includes more than 700 independent female documentary photographers based in 91 countries, any commissioning editor or organization can utilize the database for their photojournalistic hiring needs.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this year’s IWD than to support an initiative that is enriching the professional advancement of female and non-binary photojournalists,” said Elizabeth Pratt, director of professional client development and support and Canon Professional Services. “Women Photograph has created a home for professional women photojournalists to showcase their work for potential clients and Canon is honored to help continue the momentum of this initiative.”
Canon Professional Services will host a Women Photograph Workshop at the Canon Customer Experience Center in Orange County, CA in December. Dates and details will be provided by Women Photograph.
“Canon is an ideal strategic partner as we ensure that our industry’s chief storytellers are as diverse as the communities they hope to represent,” said Daniella Zalcman, founder and director of Women Photograph. “So much of breaking into the photojournalism industry relies on networking and professional development events that can be prohibitively expensive and the generous support from Canon will help our photographers access these resources.”
For more information about Women Photograph or to learn more about the travel grant program and the upcoming workshop, log onto: https://www.womenphotograph.com/.
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