International Women’s Day Project

Representation Matters

Fact: Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. Fact: Only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Fact: In 40% of economies, women’s early-stage entrepreneurial activity is half or less than half of that of men’s. (Source:

Gender equality is an important topic these days, but what do images have to do with it? Images have long played a powerful role in the way stereotypes are shaped, and also how they are dismantled.

If we want to achieve a world with gender equality, representation matters, and we believe that sharing images that feature strong, smart, independent, and diverse women is a step in the right direction.

At Unsplash, we’re able to do something about this: the immense distribution potential of Unsplash allows images to reach more people than any other visual network ever created. Together as a community, we have the ability to collectively shape the images the rest of the world sees in the media.

Where to start? First, we looked at which search terms were showing a disproportionate number of images of men vs women or surfacing men before women. For example, Furkan Karayel, CEO of Diverse In, pointed out the search term for ‘women leader’ wasn’t representative.

Our team’s API Engineer, Roberta Doyle explains why certain search terms don’t have as many images of women surfacing for terms like (powerful, CEO, women leader) and what we can do communally to change this:

“ As a woman from the engineering team at Unsplash I speak from my heart when I say that improving the results of female images for certain search terms lies at the core of my priorities. When you see disappointing results, we either lack images or we do have images that could fit that search but they haven’t been tagged for that term. As we work on the algorithm our community work can make a significant difference in showing the images that we as users would like to see there.” — Roberta Doyle, API Engineer

This is why from March 4–7 we will be curating a collection of photos of empowered women that break stereotypes. We are inviting our community to join in!

Here’s how you can be part of our International Women’s Day Project

  • Submit photos of women that you feel embody any of these words for a chance to be featured in the International Women’s Day 2019 Collection Powerful, Success, CEO, Leader, Strong, Fearless, Business, Tough, Unique

Take a look at last year’s International Women’s Day Collection to get inspired.

  • Don’t have any new photos to submit but want to get involved? Go back through photos you’ve already submitted and add tags to any that could represent the empowering words we mentioned above.

How to submit a photo:

  • Submit a photo to Unsplash as normal but add “International Women’s Day” to the photo story.
  • All photos must comply with Unsplash Photo Submission Guidelines. All photos on Unsplash are licensed under the Unsplash License, which means they can be used for anything for free.
  • All photos must be submitted by March 7th, 2019, at midnight EST.

How to tag your Photos:

  • To tag your photo, log in to your account and visit the Manage Photos section
  • Review your previous submissions and access if they could be tagged with any of these search terms below. Simply add a tag and click enter.

Photo selection:

  • After your photo is submitted to Unsplash, it will be reviewed for approval by the Unsplash Editorial team, based on the submission guidelines. The photos that are selected will show up on the International Women’s Day 2019 collection page.
  • Unsplash will select 10 featured photos from that collection. If your photo is selected, you’ll be notified by email and your photo will be featured on the homepage of Unsplash.

These 10 photographers will also be:

Have any questions? Join the community Slack where we’ll be discussing this initiative.

Thanks to everyone who contributes to making this community so special ❤️ ✌️ The Unsplash Team 🙂