International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on March 8th. This day of awareness is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world, while at the same time recognizing that the world still has a ways to go in establishing equality for women. One area that is important to gender equality activists is giving women opportunities to be involved in innovation. Research shows that more diverse workplaces lead to increased creativity and effective problem solving. Different voices fuel diverse perspectives. This includes women, and even more specifically includes the voices of women of color.
Knowing this information, what role can we take in elevating the voices of diverse women in our communities? Mentor Me Learning recently found out about one local organization that is making this happen right here in Southern California. Las Fotos Project is a Los-Angeles based nonprofit who’s focus “is to elevate the voices of teenage girls from communities of color.” They use arts education as their medium, specifically workshops centering on photography. Their endeavors include therapeutic and skills-based photography courses, photo exhibitions of student work and career training. Participants in the program have the opportunity to be mentored by photographers in the workforce and then hired to shoot community events and celebrations.
“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” -Sally Mann
At the International Women’s Day central website, some of their targeted missions for gender equality fit right into this model. To be a part of this positive growth, you can reflect on some of the missions proposed for #IWD2020 to accelerate women’s equality. Inspired by the work of Las Fotos Project, think about how you might make one these related missions your own.
How can YOU get involved? SIMPLE!
MISSION #1: To increase the visibility of women creatives and promote their work for commercial projects.
MISSION #2: To support women to earn and learn on their own terms and in their own way.
MISSION #3: To champion women of all backgrounds who dare to innovate, lead, and uplift others towards a more equal and inclusive workplace.
Think of some possible applications: Could you hire teen photographers from Las Photos Project for your next event? Could you use this model to design a similar project at your school or with a community group? Could you support or host an arts exhibit featuring the work of diverse female artists in your community? … Looking through this lens, how do you see the bigger picture unfolding where more women are seen and heard?