From the outside, things look quite nice – according to a report (based on artists in the workplace between 1990 and 2005) released by the National Endowment for the Arts, in 2008, about 42.8% of all photographers are female. The other thing it mentioned is that amongst all the photographers under the age of 35, almost 60% of the field is dominated by women. In other words, there are more women who take up the profession but, after a certain age, the veteran or successful or popular photographers (however you may look at it) are usually men!
The natural tendency, however, is to assume photography as a man’s profession and a client’s perception might also be the same. As a result, irrespective of the skill-level with a camera in hand, a male photographer is more likely to be hired as compared to a female – especially in areas like sport, journalism, or war zones. That may have contributed to lowering the average earnings for female photographers, as compared to male photographers, by almost 50%.
You might argue that this report is outdated and as such, does not apply to us today, but let’s look at more recent statistics:
Research papers on the condition of women artists in the USA reveal a discrepancy in salaries based on gender. Between 2005 and 2009, a male photographer earned about $8000 more per annum than a female photographer.
A 2015 study on the state of photojournalism confirmed that the profession is still male-dominated with men earning, on average, more than women. The updated study of 2016 confirms this trend, stating that:
“The profession continues to be very skewed in terms of the proportions of men and women who make a living from photojournalism and income levels are also heavily distorted from north to south.”
There is no denying female talent, which is why women photographers are making waves, but gender disparity remains across the photographic industry even today.