This Is What a Working Woman Looks Like

Lean In and Getty Images partner to create a library devoted to images of 'real women' at work.

Working Woman sitting on sofa
(Image credit: Getty, Lean In Partnership)

If stock photos were a genuine representation of working women, every office in America would be full of women in boxing gloves hoisting power tools, climbing mountains and ladders in heels, laughing alone with salads, falling asleep on their computers, with eight arms to balance a baby, a cup of coffee, a computer and, of course, an iron. But since that's not true, clearly there's a disconnect between the illustrations commonly used in stories about women and reality.

Recognizing the need for more accurate depictions of empowered women, partnered with Getty Images to create a library of some 2,500 photos of women in contemporary work and life. "No high heels climbing up a ladder, no women in suits with crying babies, but real images of real women who look like they are actually working, women an girls in strong poses, and fathers being active parents," LeanIn.orgco-founder and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in an email announcing the Feb. 10 launch.

The collection, which will be a resource for marketers, advertisers and media for use in campaigns and communications, features women of all ages, races, and occupations from young black girls in powerful stances to female soldiers to women who you might actually see around your workplace. "You can't be what you can't see, so if women and girls are not seeing images of powerful women and girls who are leaders, then they may not aspire to become that," Jessica Bennett, contributing editor at told Mashable. Bennett curated the collection along with Getty Images director of visual trends Pamela Grossman.

In addition to the photo library, Getty will donate a portion of the proceeds to create two new photography grants for images showcasing female empowerment. One is a $20,000 creative grant that will be awarded to a team of a photographer or videographer and a creative agency who collaborate with a nonprofit to develop a visual campaign focusing on issues related to's mission, and the other is a $10,000 editorial photography grant, which will be given to a documentary photographer to fund their coverage of a news story about women and girls. Additional funds will go to to further their mission of supporting women to achieve their ambitions.

"Changing this imagery is so important in the fight for real equality," Sandberg said. "Here's to an end of women alone with salad!"

To view the full Lean In Collection, visit

Kayla Webley Adler

Kayla Webley Adler is the Deputy Editor of ELLE magazine. She edits cover stories, profiles, and narrative features on politics, culture, crime, and social trends. Previously, she worked as the Features Director at Marie Claire magazine and as a Staff Writer at TIME magazine.