Politics, it’s fair to say, is dominated by men. Take the U.S., for example, where in excess of 80 percent of members of Congress are male. Elle magazine believes that the issue deserves more attention so, as part of its #MoreWomen campaign, it released a video showing what political stages from around the globe look like when the men are airbrushed away. And the results are truly striking.
Since the 2015 General Election, the U.K.’s House of Commons has accommodated 459 male MPs and 191 female MPs. That’s a seven percent increase on the number of women politicians elected in the preceding General Election in 2010, but still means that only 29 percent of British MPs are female. And this shot, thought to have been taken during a debate in 2013, shows just how male-dominated the House of Commons chamber really is.
Remove the men from the image, then, and the true extent of their domination becomes clear, despite the house now having a record number of female members.
Mohamed Morsi was the first leader in Egypt’s long history to be democratically elected. However, when he announced his new-look cabinet in August 2012 it was, perhaps predictably, dominated by men.
In fact, the now ex-president – whose brief premiership came to a dramatic end in July 2013 – appointed just two women: one of whom was Nadia Zachary, who oversaw the scientific research ministry.
When British actress Emma Watson delivered a speech on women’s rights at the United Nations in September 2014, she was seemingly completely surrounded – almost inevitably – by male delegates.
“Men,” she told her audience, which looks a little lacking when the men are actually removed, “I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.”
Back in 2007 Queen Elizabeth II was photographed with G20 leaders at Buckingham Palace in London, all of whom were there to enjoy a meal prepared by famous chef Jamie Oliver.
Aside from Her Majesty, however, there were just two other women in attendance – Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the Argentine president.
When the 2012 soccer Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea went all the way to penalties, G8 leaders watched the match together in Camp David, Maryland and looked pretty engrossed.
There was just one female – Germany’s Angela Merkel – in attendance, and she didn’t look too happy when Didier Drogba netted the penalty that won the trophy for the British side.
U.K. current affairs show Newsnight once debated the prevalence of all-male TV panels. And while its own one here – from a program aired in September 2015 – wasn’t quite men only, it was certainly male dominated.
Indeed, take them out and only two women remain – broadcast journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer and politician Suzanne Evans.
When Barack Obama authorized the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011 from the White House’s Situation Room, he was surrounded by his closest political allies and security advisers.
But only one of them – Hilary Clinton, the then Secretary of State – was a woman. Take the men out of the equation and the Democratic presidential hopeful looks especially isolated.
In 2013 African heads of state or their representatives and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon met at the base of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa. They were there to oversee the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government signing a peace agreement, following almost two decades of conflict in the country.
Take the male delegates out, though, and just one female representative remains. Judging by her expression, it’s almost as if she’s wondering where they’ve got to.
What’s more, this Chinese take on Elle’s #MoreWomen campaign is particularly eye-opening. Pictured here is the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) of the Communist Party of China – arguably the country’s seven most powerful people.
As the preceding image shows, the PSC is entirely comprised of men. When they’re removed, then, all that remains is an empty stage.
Another image from the Chinese series depicts Xi Jinping, the country’s president, meeting a delegation of ex-government officials and U.S. businesspeople in Beijing.
Again, the party is male dominated. Remove the men and just two women – both of whom are American – remain. Aside, that is, from that phantom head, which can probably be blamed on poor Photoshopping skills. Regardless, though, this image and all the others from the Chinese series and Elle’s campaign are without doubt food for thought when it comes to women’s participation in politics around the world.