This Is What a World Without Women Would Look Like

Mar 10, 2015

On March 8, ads, books and magazine covers around New York City looked a bit empty.

Where there were once women—on a Dove soap billboard, on HarperCollins books, on Condé Nast magazine covers, on a phone booth ad for the New York City Ballet, among other places—pictures had been replaced with white space and a URL reading Not-there.org. You can see examples in the gallery above.

The collaborative campaign by the Clinton Foundation and ad agency Droga5 for International Women’s Day was meant to bring attention to a new report from No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project. The initiative seeks to “raise awareness that women are ‘not there’ yet on issues of gender equality.”

This year also marked the twentieth anniversary of Hillary Clinton addressing the United Nations in Beijing to assert, “It is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.”

On the surface, this clever media stunt taught us that a world without women would be lacking of some serious talent. The stage for the New York City Ballet would be bare. Tennis rackets would just be laying on the court at the US Open. There would be less laughter, without actresses like Amy Poehler and Cameron Diaz. And we may not have won World War II, since it was women—characterized by Rosie the Riveter—who took up the domestic effort to produce munitions and war supplies.

If you got the message and moused your way over to the report, you’d also learn about the great leaps women have made in recent years and the bounds that they still need to make to catch up.

More laws protect women today than ever before, but they are not always enforced. More girls are getting educations, and women outnumber men at colleges—but not in the STEM programs that feed some of the highest-paid industries.

The gender workforce gap hasn’t changed in twenty years, and women are underrepresented in political office and management ranks.

Paid maternity leave is now common for women across the world, but not in the U.S.—one of nine countries in the world that does not guarantee paid leave.

And women spend up to 5 more hours on unpaid domestic work than men.

While the lack of women may have been blatantly obvious on prominent billboards, magazines, book covers and bus posters, the Not There campaign also encourages us to look elsewhere. What about in the engineering programs at college? What about on the Hill in Washington? What about that empty Aeron chair in the CEO’s corner office?

This is part of The Photo Bank, a recurring feature on Money.com dedicated to conceptual photography on financial issues. Submissions are welcome and should be sent to Sarina Finkelstein, online photo editor for Money.com at sarina.finkelstein@timeinc.com.

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