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“Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” author, Sheryl Sandberg has teamed up with Getty images to offer a special collection of images that represent women and families in more empowering ways.

“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ms. Sandberg said in an interview. The current stock images of women on Getty feed into old-fashioned stereotypes and Ms. Sandberg claims that the ubiquity of these images is hurting girls and women because of their stereotypical imagery. These images are in heavy demand as the three most-searched terms in Getty’s image database are “women,” “business” and “family.”

The LeanIn/Getty site says:

We are proud to present the Lean In Collection, a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them. Jointly curated by Getty Images and LeanIn.Org – the women’s empowerment nonprofit founded by Sheryl Sandberg – the collection features over 2,500 images of female leadership in contemporary work and life. A portion of proceeds from the Lean In Collection will go toward the creation of Getty Images grants for images showcasing female empowerment and to supporting the mission of LeanIn.Org.

This partnership between and Getty is a way for Lean In to broaden its reach after criticism that Ms. Sandberg’s advice is relevant only to women in corporate America and that she places the burden of breaking through stereotypes on individual women instead of on workplaces and society.

I use stock images almost everyday and I’ve complained to my Senior Editor about the condition of many of the photos we have to choose from. With the amount of career stories that we cover on a daily basis, I am constantly searching for some variation of “Black woman at work,” “Black woman in the office,” or something similar. Most of the images that come up in these searches are not the types of images I am looking for. More often than not, the woman isn’t Black nor the main focal point of the image. And don’t even get me started on the images of the Black mother! She’s either a single mom, teaching her daughter important things, like how to wear heels, ignoring her child or worse–a cartoon!

We’ve laughed around the office plenty of times at the stock images that are available to use. We’re not the only ones laughing–there’s memes popping up all over the internet in the form of awesome sites like, “Women Laughing Alone With Salad,” or “Feminism, According To Stock Photography.”

Here’s some of those images that pop up for “Black woman in the office”:


Here’s some imagery for “Black mother”:


The new library of photos shows professional women as surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers. Women in offices wear contemporary clothes and hairstyles and hold tablets or smartphones. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. For a site like, HelloBeautiful, this new partnership means that we will be able to display stories with imagery that is more suited to the story and therefore more powerful than ever before!

LeanIn.Org & Getty Team Up To Create More Empowering Stock Images For Women  was originally published on

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