Why are so many of our illustrations still sexist?

I am not at all ashamed to come out and say that I am a born again Feminist.

I feel that its my duty as a mother, business woman, mentor and speaker to promote  the positive image and images of women in our society.

I started looking through my company website this morning for illustrations of business women.

To my shock and surprise, I could barely find any.

I carefully search through the portfolios of our 53 illustrators  and almost all the images of women were stereotypical.

There were many illustrations of women with children, women working out, women putting on make up or dressing up but there were almost no illustrations of women in business.

Now, that’s not to say that we don’t have any business clients because we do.  We work with some of the most prestigious business magazines in the world.

For some bizarre reason, all the illustrations that deal with the subject of business, have men in them and not women.

Now, I don’t want to point a finger but I am sure the briefings we get specify that men be used in these business illustrations.

Women now hold 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.

Women have yet to break through the glass ceilings of these Fortune 500 companies but many women are climbing up the corporate ladder or starting their own business.


I think if we want things to change, we need to start using more women in  business illustrations.

We can’t control the corporate world but why not try to advance  the cause of women in  the creative world.

Next time a client calls, I think I might just suggest that to them to use a women in their next business illustration.

Illustration  Sebastien Thibault.



3 thoughts on “Why are so many of our illustrations still sexist?

  1. Bravo Anna!!

    Sent from my iPad

    GINA HOLE– Agent&Producer THEY Representation – Photographer & Artist Agency 1635 Powell St, Vancouver, BC Canada, V5L 1H5 O 604.879.2959 F 604.879.1639 C 604.916.8439 W THEYrep.com T @THEYrep FBfacebook.com/THEYrep


  2. Great blog post Anna!! Makes me realize lot’s of things.. it’s as we don’t even think about it when we do the sketches and submit ideas… (well I should speak for myself anyway) hehe… sort of a brainwashed kind of thing. Thanks for the reminder, I will keep that in mind from now on. 🙂


  3. I agree that there is still a huge gap in what a lot of illustrators draw in terms of gender but the art directors have a huge responsibility as well to make sure that both genders and people of color are represented before they go to print. 3 out of 5 times I am hired I am always reminded by an art director I am hired by to include both genders or preferably a female for an editorial assignment and to make my characters racially ambiguous. It’s a serious concern that needs to be addresses but I feel like it falls more in business magazines (as you point out) that newspapers and general interest/lifestyle magazines.


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