“Google is the information center of the world, and it’s presenting a skewed and imbalanced vision of who creates knowledge.”
— Dana Edell, executive director of SPARK Movement, describing to the Wall Street Journal the inherent sexism her organization found in Google’s daily homepage doodles. SPARK Movement, a girls advocacy group, released a report today that claims the doodles overlook women’s contributions to history. It found that of 445 Google doodles of historical figures between 2010 and 2013, just 17.5 percent featured women. Women of color were even more underrepresented, with just 4 percent. Google has admitted there’s a problem: “Women have historically been underrepresented in almost all fields: science, school curricula, business, politics — and, sadly, doodles,” Ryan Germick, Google’s head of doodles, told the Journal. Germick said Google is working to feature more female figures in 2014, and noted: “So far this year we’ve done doodles for as many women as men.”
It’s not just Google doodles where women are a rarity: From computer science classrooms to Silicon Valley boardrooms, a dramatic gender imbalance is seen. In Part 2 of his series, “Women in Computing: The Promise Denied,” the Merc’s Mike Cassidy explains why this is a problem not just for women, but for our society — and economy — as a whole.
At top: A Google doodle of Indian independence activist Sarojini Naidu, on what would have been her 135th birthday on Feb. 13, 2014.