Community//

The Power of Inclusive Technology Imagery

Fun #techinclusion experiment. Analyze the next 20 tech-related articles you read.   Who appears in the accompanying photos?  Who is in a position of authority? Whose hands appear in “tech” shots? What race(s) do robots appear to be modeled after?   If you haven’t studied photos in technology articles before, what you notice might surprise you.  If […]

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Fun #techinclusion experiment. Analyze the next 20 tech-related articles you read.  

Who appears in the accompanying photos?  Who is in a position of authority? Whose hands appear in “tech” shots? What race(s) do robots appear to be modeled after?  

If you haven’t studied photos in technology articles before, what you notice might surprise you. 

If you write tech articles or do tech presentations, please step back and review again the images you choose (or your team or your company chooses). 

Stereotypical and non-diverse technology stock images often appear first and in great quantities before diverse and inclusive images do, and so, are by default used often. Typically, you’ll have to proactively search for more inclusive images using diverse terms in order to find a technology image that is diverse and inclusive.  And even images showing a “diverse” group of people in a technology setting still often feature stereotypical gender roles and/or feature power or authority in non-inclusive ways. (Also be mindful of the hands pointing to, or grasping things, in tech images – there is a fairly constant stream of non-diverse hands in tech images in media.)

For women, girls, and people of color, the ongoing pattern of seeing images that aren’t like them can start to evoke a sense of exclusion. It can be even more noticeable in emerging technology spaces like blockchain or artificial intelligence, where diversity overall is even lower and inclusive imagery is even rarer than in other technology spaces.

As a woman in tech since the mid-’90s, I can honestly say, it’s a real bummer for me to see as many “old school” tech images today as I still do. 

The good news is, with awareness and a little extra effort, it’s possible to replace these unhelpful, old-fashioned tech pics with more updated, diverse and inclusive images. It simply takes a proactive approach and an awareness of why it matters. 

For everyone in tech wondering how to get more women and people of color into tech roles, this is a step that – while it seems tiny – repeated often enough, in enough media… might help create a completely different perspective of tech for women, girls, and people of color over time.   

Does being mindful of and incorporating inclusive imagery replace other critical things like diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy in hiring, recruiting, and training? Of course not.  

But a young girl today who sees herself in every technology article she reads about her passion is likely to feel more excited and more interested than if she doesn’t see herself as part of the picture. Inclusive imagery makes a difference. And it’s an easy step to start doing, today.

#diversity #equity #inclusion #technologyinclusion #AI #blockchain

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