Today is the International Day of the Girl.
I had no idea that this day even existed, but it does and rightly so. Girls still face a world where even in Australia, they will grow up making less money for doing the same job as their brothers. Around the world, girls on average receive fewer education opportunities, are told what to do with their own bodies and even have less access to sport once they reach a certain level. That is, unless we change things.
When I had my morning coffee and checked the headlines, I saw that today was a special day to bring awareness to the international fight for freedom for girls. The rest of the headlines were about the Hollywood producer who has been harassing women for decades. It is not just the movie making business, this is happening in different ways in every industry… Just look at the photography world where last month Nikon announced their 32 ambassadors for the D850 and not one of them was female. The media made a little bit of noise about that, but the dust settled and unsurprisingly, I never heard Nikon address it.
As a photographer and mother, I am always wondering what I can do with my own art to help bring attention to the fight for gender equality and how I can not only picture girls, but give them a voice and shine a light on what matters… worldwide and right here at home.
Last year I began my series of Within The Keep where I have been picturing girls in black and white and letting them define themselves using only the positive words to describe their strengths. I will keep sharing those images and look forward to bringing more faces into the gallery in the future. Today, I announce the beginning of my second series in the Keep collective called, The Pathway.
Starting girls in sport is getting easier, but helping them achieve the same level of achievement and celebration as they progress is about as effortless as walking through quicksand at night. The further girls progress, the less clear the path to greatness becomes, while boys seem to be directed onto a well-lit superhighway in their chosen field. Today is the first game for Gemma’s new all girls cricket team. We have had to leave the local club where she and her friend started a girls’ side last season because there was no support to build a team. We have landed in an excellent club that is putting so much effort into building not just a team (in fact, THREE girls teams), but an entire culture around girls playing cricket. Despite that massive effort, we actually don’t have the season fixture finalised as some clubs are struggling to pull teams together.
And it is not just cricket. Female AFL players were celebrated less in the mainstream media than what the wives and girlfriends of the male AFL players wore to the awards night. Some soccer stars have to work two jobs on top of playing for their country. Our kids need to see these amazing athletes featured on the news. They need to be celebrated as the sporting greats that they are. Even last year, Gemma’s undefeated representative (the best players from the region) cricket team did not get their photo in even the local Bayside Leader following their grand final win. There was a photo of the girls, I took it. No one shared it although the boys got a shot in the paper.
I will write more about the process (using Olympus cameras and Lensbaby lenses) , vision and inspiration when the entire gallery comes together, but I could not imagine a better day to reveal the beginning of this next project than the International Day of the Girl!
And if you have a daughter in sport you would like to have included in The Pathway, please be in touch.
I will be putting out an official call when I return from the states, but don’t wait to get on the list.