Google Images is reinforcing gender stereotypes in the workplace

Mimi Launder
Tuesday 19 June 2018 12:15
news
Picture:(iStock / Petar Chernaev; iStock / shironosov)

From getting paid more if they wear makeup (yep, really) to feeling all-round dissatisfied with their jobs, women get a rough enough deal in the workplace without the help of Google Images.

But the search engine giant is kindly helping out anyway. Type ‘CEO’ into Google Images and you will find only 11 per cent of results show women - but this isn't representative of the actual number of female CEOs, which is 36 per cent according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The comparison is according to a Professional Perception, created by AdView. By analysing ONS and Google Images, they expose the woeful misrepresentation of gender and reinforcement of false stereotypes spread by the search engine.

You can test it out by searching 'CEO' for yourself, if you feel up to playing a game of 'Where's Woman?'. Woman singular for obvious reasons, unless you squint and count the two seated in a boardroom listening to a man, which you shouldn't.

Picture: Google screenshot 

With one estimate putting the number of searches on Google Images as one billion - yep, one billion - per day, this is a big deal.

The top 5 underrepresented roles for women on Google Images.

Job role  Underrepresented by... ONS data Google Images
CEOS  25% 36% 11%
Bakers 22% 49% 27%
Solicitors 21% 48% 27%
Pharmacists 15% 73% 58%
Police officers 13% 28% 15%

Google Images is also perpetuating harmful stereotypes about men: while women are misrepresented in 19 of the 30 job roles, men are misrepresented in 10 of the 30 job roles.

The top 5 underrepresented roles for men on Google Images.

Job role Underrepresented by... ONS data Google Images
Pilots 27% 95% 68%
Farmers 18% 90% 72%
Gardeners 15% 85% 70%
Teachers 13% 47% 34%
Librarians 11% 29% 18%

Find out the comparison for different jobs below.

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indy100 has contacted Google for comment.

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