Is it ok that the vast majority of individual Google doodles celebrate the accomplishments of men?
Google, a company that prides itself as being an alternative, reminds us that sexist historical viewpoints are still the null.
So what are the facts? Ann Martin has been gathering and compiling evidence on her blog since November of 2011. It’s pretty compelling. Here’s just some of what Ann had to say (see her story after the cartoon).
From the start of 2008 to November 8th, 2012, the United States Google homepage has displayed 86 Doodles honoring individuals, and only 11 of those have honored women. If you count up the Doodles that Google has posted globally, the numbers increase to 328 total Doodles and just 44 representing women over that same period. That’s 12.8% here in the U.S., and only 13.4% worldwide.
Ann Martin’s full story
If you’re familiar with Google Doodles, the periodic special logos that replace the typical Google logo for a day, you might also be familiar with a nagging feeling that women aren’t exactly getting their fair share of recognition. While some Google Doodles recognize holidays and cultural celebrations, a large number of them honor the birthdays of famed creators and innovators, including scientists, authors, inventors, entertainers, and artists.
The honorees, and the accompanying logo, range from the whimsical to the reverent, highlighting Les Paul, Jim Henson, Richard Scarry, Heinrich Hertz, Keith Haring, and others. The Doodles represent a unique opportunity and a world stage to bring attention to their honorees, but those selected are overwhelmingly male.
From the start of 2008 to November 8th, 2012, the United States Google homepage has displayed 86 Doodles honoring individuals, and only 11 of those have honored women. If you count up the Doodles that Google has posted globally, the numbers increase to 328 total Doodles and just 44 representing women over that same period. That’s 12.8% here in the U.S., and only 13.4% worldwide. Market analyses show that Google gets over 80% of the search traffic on the web, and it is the most-visited website globally and in the US. This mis-representation of the gender diversity among actual creators and innovators de-values women’s contributions, and loses Google the opportunity to present diverse role models to its users.
I started my blog, Speaking Up, in November 2011, with an Open Letter to the Doodles team in the hope of getting Google to notice and address this issue. The blog tracks the statistics of the Google Doodles gender distribution and highlights Doodle-worthy women. I have a background in a male-dominated field of science, work in science education, am committed to increasing opportunities in science for people from diverse backgrounds, and view the world through a feminist lens, so this was an issue I couldn’t ignore.
If you’re interested in looking at this topic from the perspective of racial diversity, let me know. Ann has a lot of data collected, it just needs someone with the right expertise to code, analyze, and interpret. She’s willing to help and will provide space on her blog for posts.
Sounds like a good project for a student (wink, wink, nudge, nudge… sociology professors that read my blog).