Find and Use the Perfect (Free!) Image Online

Images typically get more attention than text does on web pages, and they garner more engagement on social media. In the online world, where people scan more than they read, images can stop people in their tracks and help tell your story when words don’t.

When finding free images online, it’s important to understand that just because images are readily available on search engines, partner organization sites, and news sites doesn’t mean they’re available for use on your site — even with attribution. They’re most likely covered by copyright, so you would need permission from the owner or buy them (see numbers 3 and 5 below). Well, you might ask, How do I use images on blogs, social media, and websites without breaking copyright or spending lots of money?

There are plenty of places you can find free and legal images to use on your AAUW website and social media. In this post, we’ll cover some do’s to help you find and use free images for your online content. And check out the captioned photos for examples of correct attribution.

DO use AAUW National social media albums.

Students at the annual NCCWSL conference.

Photo courtesy of AAUW

You can turn to our Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, and other social media platforms and scroll through the albums. We just ask that you attribute them to us and link to the page you found them on. (Hint: Our images cover the gamut of AAUW issues and activities.)

DO read creative-commons licenses.

There are several sites, including Wikimedia Commons, Flickr Creative Commons, and the Library of Congress, where millions of images are available to the public domain, but each site can have different restrictions. Make sure you read the page for information like how you should attribute the image or if you can edit it. (Hint: When searching for images, start with specific search terms and then go broader.)

DO ask for and receive permission.

Pioneers of the production line, these two young workers are among the first women ever to operate a centerless grinder, a machine requiring both the knowledge of precision measuring instruments and considerable experience and skill in setting up.

These two young workers are among the first women ever to operate a centerless grinder. Photo by Ann Rosener. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

If you ever find an image you’d like to use but you don’t see any guidelines about use, or if you see that it’s copyrighted, e-mail or call the person or organization in possession of the image and ask. Be explicit about your plans for the photo and mention that it’s not for profit. (Hint: You’ll have more luck with individuals and nonprofits than with news organizations and wires or professional photographers.)

DO attribute everything.

“Better safe than sorry” is our mantra, but we also believe that photographers and/or their organizations deserve credit for their work. Be sure to list the photographer, organization, and link whenever you can. (Hint: Put the attribution in the caption.)

DO use stock images when there’s nothing else.

Women Laughing Alone with Salad was the theme of a popular Tumblr blog satirizing cheesy stock photography. Photo courtesy of ThinkStock

Women Laughing Alone with Salad was the theme of a popular Tumblr blog satirizing cheesy stock photography. Photo courtesy of ThinkStock

Sometimes you just don’t have the right image to accompany your message, so stock photography can help. Here are some cheap or free stock photo sites for you to explore:

(Hint: Stock photos tend to be generic, so make sure your site stands out with these tips.)

This piece is posted from AAUW.

Title IX is about STEM Too

Over the last 40 years, Title IX has brought well-known changes to women’s and men’s sports. What fewer people realize are the other areas in which Title IX is intended to help improve inequities in education — by enforcing compliance reviews that stop sexual harassment and bullying, protecting pregnant and parenting teens, and narrowing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievement gap.

There are many STEM careers that help people and solve world issues, but a lot of girls aren’t aware that these careers exist, nor do they know how to begin on that path. Education and enforcement of Title IX rights in the classroom can help end the influence that stereotypes have on teachers and guidance counselors — stereotypes that keep these mentors from helping girls make the connection between their dreams and STEM fields of study.

Girls are more likely to take biology, chemistry, and precalculus in high school than boys are (I took all three), but these classes often do not translate into a college major in a STEM field. If these girls are anything like me, they viewed such courses as prerequisites for college instead of the beginning of a career path. AAUW’s research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics details the reasons why women drop out of — or never enter — the STEM pipeline. Title IX enforcement can improve many of these problems. For example, the personality career tests that guidance counselors commonly give to help determine where students’ skills lie may feed into stereotypes and violate Title IX if the tests indiscriminately place girls out of STEM careers.

After-school programs, summer camps, activities, encouragement by parents, and role models are crucial for fixing the STEM pipeline for women and girls. But Title IX enforcement must play a larger role if we ever wish to see true change in schools.

Mae Jemison, center, the first African American woman in space, testifies about Title IX before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Title IX was a part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and is now 20 years older than me. When I was old enough to play sports, I didn’t feel like I faced gender discrimination — in fact, I thrived. I never had to fight for the ability to play on a softball team. I knew that Title IX and its advocates made this possible for me, but I wish I had known more about the law’s reach. Like me, many people are only now learning how far Title IX can go to make education more equitable, just as it has done and continues to do for sports.

Here’s what everyone should know: Under Title IX, schools that receive federal funding must ensure equity in STEM education for all students. Stereotypes and biases, no matter how small, threaten equity and equal opportunities for girls. Title IX enforcement is only possible with the help of communities to keep schools in compliance. That’s where you come in. Read up on Title IX to find out where it’s been and where it’s going — because it’s not just about sports but ensuring that everyone gets a fair shot.

This piece was reposted form AAUW.

Sexual Harassment Online and Why You Should Care about Adria Richards

Before this week I had never heard of Adria Richards or her blog, But You’re a Girl. Probably many of you haven’t heard of her either; here’s why I want you to learn about her now.

Last week, Richards was a developer evangelist at the tech company SendGrid, and she attended a tech conference called PyCon. Now here’s where it gets complicated. During one of the conference sessions, Richards allegedly heard two men making sexualized jokes, so she turned around, snapped a picture, and tweeted it. PyCon addressed the men on the spot. (Here’s her blog about the incident.) In response, Richards was fired from SendGrid and PlayHaven fired one of their involved employees.

(Trigger warning: Links contain offensive language.)

The situation has blown up online.

Some are calling out the companies for overreacting. Others are wondering if Richards could have handled the situation differently. I don’t want to compare these opinions here; what put my stomach in 10 knots were the reports of incessant, ugly, and sexist threats and online bullying targeted at Richards after the incident. What started as thoughtful dialogue degraded into vitriolic tweets and sexist name-calling — even death and rape threats. (Many of these comments have since been flagged and removed from Twitter.)

twitter backlash

These kinds of online attacks constitute abuse. Any blogger who writes something worth paying attention to can expect her share of trolls, but does that make it okay?

I’ve been in a situation where a colleague’s leering sexual innuendo made me feel ashamed. I’ve read the articles about incredible women being reprimanded for speaking out against sexism. As a woman who works with technology, I’ve been to the information technology seminars where the overwhelming number of participants are men.

When sexism takes a hold of a situation like this, I don’t feel safe, because I know it could happen to me. A woman blogger can’t police these kinds of comments alone, so the rest of the online community shouldn’t stand by and watch it happen.

We should stick up for each other online and say this is not okay, just as we should if we see harassment in the street. We need to call out the perpetrators of sexual harassment — it is sexual harassment after all — to make them face the real problem at hand: A personal attack that silences one woman, particularly in an industry that already gets flack for being unfriendly to women, is a loss for everyone.

This piece was reposted from AAUW.

Is That a Question or a Statement? How You Speak Matters

You don’t have to be a public speaker to pay attention to your voice. Before an interview, salary negotiation, or presentation, we are sure to look professional and have our talking points down — but what about how we’re going to say it? Our voice is something we can control, so we need to stop ignoring it.

Speak lower. Speak slower. Speak louder.

When I speak in front of a group, this is feedback I might receive. That is because I’ve picked up many of the vocal patterns of women like me. I have a high voice, and at the end of my sentences I often go into a higher register, like I’m asking a question. See the first 20 seconds of Zooey Deschanel on Katie Couric’s talk show (below). This phenomenon is often referred to as “upspeak” or “uptalk.”

Seeing it in video feels cringe-worthy when you listen for it, but thousands of people will watch the show without a second thought to the way the women spoke, so why does it even matter? Christine Jahnke, a Washington, D.C.-based speech coach, spells it out like this: “Upspeak makes everything you’re saying sound like a question rather than a declarative statement, thus the speaker comes across as hesitant, and what they’re not doing is speaking with authority.”

Deschanel’s and Couric’s use of uptalk in the show was friendly, but if women are employing uptalk without considering the circumstances, they might be giving off the wrong impression. Let’s face it, the habit has a bad reputation. Magazines and blogs, colleagues, and even my peers have no issue calling the vocal pattern, like, so annoying. That is why it is important to understand the way you speak.

“When we think about the voice overall, it’s a good idea to avoid repetitive patterns,” says Jahnke. “Audiences pick up on repetitive patterns and they start to anticipate them so much that they become distracted from what you are trying to say.”

Jahnke has worked with women from all walks of life, including coaching Michelle Obama and teaching a workshop at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Jahnke gives great advice for why ladies might upspeak when we shouldn’t and what we can do to edit it out.

Reason 1: In any kind of high-pressure situation where you might get nervous, you tend to speak more quickly, your vocal chords tighten, and your voice starts to rise. You often won’t even realize it is happening.
Try this: Jahnke recommends a great way to relax. Take a deep breath through the nose, hold it for two counts, then exhale audibly. It also warms up the vocal chords. Continue to breathe throughout your presentation.
Reason 2: We are looking for affirmation or trying to solicit feedback.
Try this: “There are better ways to take the temperature of the room without making every phrase sound like a question,” says Jahnke. “Be more direct and ask the individual or audience, ‘What do you think?’ or ‘Do you agree?’”
Extra credit: In her keynote speech at NCCWSL 2013, Rachel Simmons suggested young women start their sentences with the phrase “this is what I think.” That way the apologizing and unsure tones she’s witnessed don’t fit into what you’re going to say next.

When you give yourself a disclaimer before presenting an idea or use uptalk to facilitate feedback, you’re giving the wrong impression. It takes a conscious effort to break ineffective habits and practice to develop a style that works for you. Jahnke suggests women video tape themselves speaking. That way we can see (and hear) for ourselves what others are hearing.

Then, find a safe environment where you can practice and receive constructive feedback. I loved Jahnke’s idea of a once-a-month brown bag lunch with your colleagues or professional network where you practice giving your elevator speech, provide feedback, tape each other, and talk about it.

“You can read about it, but you have to do it,” Jahnke says. And the more you practice, the more effective your presentations and negotiations will be.

Slideshow: Women Who Speak with Authority

We live in an exciting time with more women role models than ever before. We have three female Supreme Court justices, more women than ever in Congress, more women in the president’s political cabinet, and growing female leadership in business. There are a lot of examples of great women leaders we can look to for examples of great communication. Christine Jahnke, author of The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best, shared her take on some of the best women speakers of our time.

Sheryl Sandberg

Picture 1 of 6

Facebook Chief Operating Officer and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg speaks with great candor. Watch her speak »

Photo by World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This piece was reposted from AAUW.

Viral Pantene Philippines Ad Challenges Stereotypes, Will Air in United States

whipit-imageIn one minute, the Pantene #WhipIt commercial took negative stereotypes of women leaders and flipped those ideas on their head. Our readers know that negative labels aimed at women leaders are nothing new. What is new is a commercial that directly addresses and challenges these labels. We have to praise this Pantene ad for bringing feminist issues to a wider audience and rejecting the old, lazy, sexist advertising tropes many companies still use.

The Pantene ad shows high-powered women and men in parallel situations with the women receiving deprecating labels, while the men receive praise. The man giving a passionate speech is marked as “persuasive,” while the woman speaker is “pushy.” The man in the office addressing a colleague is the “boss.” The woman in the same office, same position, is “bossy.” In copy accompanying the ad, Pantene urges everyone to “whip away the double standards that hold women back.”

That’s a message women worldwide need to hear, and we were excited when this morning Pantene announced plans to bring the ad campaign to the United States under a new name — #ShineStrong. Originally, the ad aired only in the Philippines but went viral online and even garnered praise from Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

sheryl sandberg pantene facebook post

While this is a commercial for shampoo (and none of the models bend any beauty norms), we do think ads addressing and challenging stereotypes are empowering. To recognize and fight off stereotype threat, the risk of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, a woman leader needs confidence and assurance. She shouldn’t have to worry about being labeled “bossy” and a “show-off.”

And even when a woman leader has confidence, she still needs her colleagues and bosses to recognize that they too need to reject sexist labeling and stereotypes. Women will continue breaking through the glass ceiling, but sexism isn’t over, and real barriers to equality in leadership for women in the workplace and politics still exist.

We see thousands of ads per day, and whether we like it or not, they shape our perceptions of society and each other. Many ads perpetuate societal norms, so when a commercial directly confronts stereotypes, we stand up and take notice. Some of the more than seven million people who saw Pantene’s ad understand stereotype threat, and many learned something about sexism along the way. That is why we’re excited that Pantene will bring this positive ad to the United States. We hope other companies take notice.


This piece was reposted from AAUW.