The project began when Pam Grossman, director of visual trends at Getty Images, commissioned a study that would track the changes in the representation of girls and women in the media. The study turned into a presentation that Grossman later shared with Sheryl Sandberg and the Lean In team at Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., last fall.
“This is such a big passion project for all of us, and cheesy as it sounds, by showing people powerful images of women, we thought maybe we could actually change the world,” Grossman told BuzzFeed.
According to Grossman, everyone at Getty Images has been “utterly supportive,” though the process of curating the collection was not without its fair share of debate. The curation team consisted of Grossman, Jessica Bennett, a contributing editor at LeanIn.org, and two other Getty Images art directors (one male and one female).
The editors were especially attuned to a viewer’s perception of the women in the photos. “The most important thing for us is that you felt like the woman had agency, not like the image was happening to her, but she was the protagonist of her own story — they all should feel like the hero of their image,” Grossman said.
In addition, “we paid careful attention to make sure the images were diverse, not just in terms of race, but also in age, family situation, and career,” said Bennett. Notably, the collection also features men actively participating in what may be seen as nontraditional male roles.
Grossman said she hopes to continue adding images to the project each month.
“My hope is that internally our photographers will see these stories and it will inspire them to create even more [positive images of women],” she said.