Oops. Nikon made a mistake. They recently ran a promotion for their new D850 that featured 32 photographers. No big deal. However, there was one glaring issue with the promotion. Every single one of those 32 photographers was a man. There were absolutely no women involved as photographers with the promotion. Now, that is a big deal. This is the kind of blatant sexism that keeps gender equality from becoming a reality.

Twitter reacts to Nikon's sexist promotion

Twitter released the kind of beautiful social backlash it was built for. Women were especially vocal. Some tweets, like, “Nikon, I think you just shot yourself in the foot,” were obvious, but true.

Others like, "When does the female version of the D850 come out? Will it be pink?" were viciously snarky. Many female photographers, including a Nikon Ambassador who was not invited to the promotion, voiced their disappointment of Nikon’s sexism.

Nikon's lackluster apology

As any major corporation would, Nikon made a statement to attempt to do some damage control after their sexist blunder. Here it is:

“Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Appreciate the support from our photography community to see better participation from female photographers as well. Our photographers’ meet was organised to share our latest innovation with our community- whom we truly value and respect. Unfortunately, the female photographers we invited for this meet were unable to attend, and we acknowledge that we had not put enough focus on this area.

We want to thank the community for raising this and challenging us to do more to support the creative talent of our female photographer community. Enabling the creativity of our community sits at the very heart of Nikon and we will continue to keep improving on our innovation and our support for you.”

Nikon's apology might as well have said...

I guess sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

Everything about that apology was backhanded. It was Nikon’s half-baked way of saying, “Sorry, not sorry.” Here is what it really sounded like when I read it:

“Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us (but since it was mostly women sharing your thoughts, we will be largely disregarding what you said). Appreciate the support from our photography community to see better participation from female photographers as well (because we took all of the outraged, dismissed women voicing their frustration with us to mean that women need to try harder to be a part of our community).

Our photographers’ meet was organised to share our latest innovation with our community (of men)- whom we truly value and respect (if you have the right parts, of course). Unfortunately, the female photographers we invited for this meet were unable to attend (but of course we won’t share how many women we invited with you, because that would prove exactly how sexist we are!), and we acknowledge that we had not put enough focus on this area (because we have no idea what gender equality is!). We want to thank the community for raising this and challenging us to do more to support the creative talent of our female photographer community (but, as we have not really done much in the past, we will continue to fail to do anything now).

Enabling the creativity of our community sits at the very heart of Nikon and we will continue to keep improving on our innovation (because that has nothing to do with what everyone is upset about!) and our support for you (men).”

That's your best excuse?

Nikon, you seriously couldn’t find a single qualified woman who wanted to make time to test out your new camera? The people (men) who voiced their support for your make me sick. It’s pathetic that you would dare to try to pass this off as a lack of participation by women! How many women did you even invite to participate in the promotion? That wasn’t an accident! You made a decision to invite each of those people, and you must have invited way more men if you ended up with 32 men and 0 women.

If you made a sexist mistake, don’t issue a dismissive apology. That’s almost as sexist as the mistake you made in the first place, and it’s just as infuriating. If you genuinely care about gender equality, apologies like this aren’t going to cut it.

This is nothing new

The Nikon Group is not new to sexist nonsense. At the end of March this year, only 11% of Nikon’s employees were women. Of the 11 directors listed on their global website, all are men. In their 2017 Sustainability Report, they discussed “the need to continue making improvements in terms of the low number of female employees and females in management positions.” They also stated that they had “cleared our target by a comfortable margin” in regard to a goal they set for getting more women into management positions.

Ladies and gentlemen, the figure they are so enthralled about is a whopping 6.1% as of March 2017. Of that figure, “the proportion of females in management positions at Nikon who are general manager and above is 2.1%.” As of March 31st, 2017, Nikon had 25,031 consolidated employees. The 2017 Nikon Sustainability Report brags about a mentoring program that they’ve developed for 20 women with 20 mentors. Congratulations, Nikon! You created a program for 0.0015980185% of your employees! I think a boycott of their products would be more appropriate than a clap on the back.

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