MONDAY 8 MAR 2021 11:39 AM


Women in business and those from BAME backgrounds are now taken more seriously than their counterparts from 15 years ago, research from photo library iStock shows.

Ahead of Internatinal Women's Day, leading global source of visual contnet, iStock, revealed its top selling images representing women in 2020. The research shows that in 2005, the top downloaded image from iStock under the search ‘women’ was a sexualised woman in a passive pose. This compares with 2020, where the top three images sold under the label ‘women’ featured those from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Top images now focus on women in teams and businesses, with less focus on physical appearance than in previous years. The iStock data reveals the visual image brands are putting forward when creating corporate content. It is increasingly important for organisations to be visually representative in order to reflect internal company commitments to diversity and inclusion.

The findings from iStock suggest that 2020 saw a move to better represent women in response to consumer’s expectations of diversity in visual content. Visual GPS found that global searches for ‘businesswoman’ on iStock in the last eight months increased by 245%.

Dr. Rebecca Swift, global head of creative insights at iStock, says “It’s both refreshing and reassuring to know that our customers are not only searching for imagery showcasing women of different ethnic backgrounds in positive situations, but they’re ultimately downloading and using these images, too—which indicates that the visual representation of women globally may be improving.”

In the UK market, Visual GPS research found that 62% of consumers say its important that companies celebrate diversity, with Gen X being the highest as 73% expect visual and practical diversity. “Given that our perception of what is possible is shaped by what we see, this shift is absolutely something worth celebrating,” adds Swift.

Visual GPS highlights industry trends using iStock data, which informs businesses how to build relevant and impactful visual campaigns.