March 8 is International Women’s Day, a yearly opportunity to recognize and eliminate discrimination against women while also pushing to empower women across the globe. 

Inspired by this important day, photographer Ashley Kadrlik of Ashley Nichole Photography is holding an International Women’s Day photoshoot Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at her home in Athens.

Kadrlik’s photography career began when she started powerlifting in order to increase her self-confidence. After purchasing a DSLR camera in order to document her powerlifting competitions, she fell in love with photography and has been shooting ever since. 

Kadrlik has held numerous female-centered empowerment photography events over the years, giving her opportunities to expand her clientele while also creating connections with other women.

“I booked a room at Hotel LeVeque in downtown Columbus and made a Facebook event and invited a few ladies I knew from work and asked them to invite other women they knew,” Kadrlik said, describing her first Women Empowerment photoshoot. “I drove home the next day and remember happy crying with the biggest smile on my face. It gave me a sense of community and fulfilled me in a way that nothing else had in a very long time.”

Since then, Kadrlik has hosted six more events for female empowerment, even partnering with •Boss Babes of West Virginia, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women. Through these events, women have connected with each other, encouraged one another, and become important parts of one another’s lives. 

“I host these events because I want women to have a place where they can be themselves with no judgement,” Kadrlik said. “I want women to know that they are powerful, and heard, and should always feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s hard fighting tooth and nail to be treated as an equal, to be taken seriously. It’s so important for me to be a vessel of positivity and inclusivity and hosting these events gives me the ability to do that. And I get to photograph a bunch of badass ladies in the process. How lucky am I?”

Representation of women in the fashion, photography and media industries is a generally controversial topic. Many women feel as if they are underrepresented while others believe that gender makes no difference in the hard work they do. International Women’s Day brings all women together through their differing opinions.

Olivia Bates, Ohio University visual communication studio manager and Variant Magazine photo chief, believes that the representation of women in the fashion and photography industry has grown tremendously. Bates explained that she has never worked with a man who has made her feel less due to being a woman.

“I am a woman, yes, but I still show up and make sure I work hard, if not harder than that of the other people around me,” Bates said. “That’s what is going to get you recognized and hired again. If you can get the job done, your gender doesn’t matter.”

However Catie Bugos, ACRN public relations director, Athena Cinema social media coordinator and operations chair of Women In The Music Industry (WIMI) believes that we are not yet at a point where women are being properly represented in the media. Bugos explained that women are often sexualized in the media, their thoughts and opinions quickly being dismissed.

“It is so important to express and showcase women in media because we are underrepresented,” Bugos said. “International Women’s Day is a chance for everyone to celebrate the hard working and badass women in their lives not just on March 8, but everyday.”

Ashley Nichole Photography already has a number of sessions booked for this Sunday, but there are still a few spaces left with photo packages ranging from $45-$115. Kadrlik emphasized that while the photo sessions do cost money, all are welcome to just stop by the event to meet other women or network.

More information can be found on Ashley Nichole’s website.