Are Google Doodles sexist and racist? Report says the graphics under-represent women and favour white men

Research by SPARK Movement showed that white men account for the overwhelming majority of people honoured in Google Doodles

For many people they are a light-hearted and fun addition to their time on the web – serving as a both a source of fun facts and perhaps a bit of a distraction during the working day.

But how do Google Doodles fare when it comes to epitomising our increasingly global and transnational world?

Not particularly well, according to a female activist group that has criticised Google for underrepresenting women and mainly focusing on white men in its Doodles.

Between 2010 and 2013, Google Doodles posted around the world honoured 445 people, 368 of whom were men, compared to just 77 women, according to a report by SPARK Movement, which describes itself as “a girl-fuelled, intergenerational” campaign group.

Men accounted for 83 per cent of all people recognised in Doodles, while women were acknowledged only 17 per cent of the time.

And of these men, 75 per cent were white, which means that white men accounted for 62 per cent of all people that Google paid tribute to during the three-year period.

In comparison, 70 per cent of the women featured were white, thereby accounting for 12 per cent of the individuals represented overall.

Non-white people were acknowledged in less than a quarter of cases (23 per cent) and women accounted for just 19 per cent of this figure.

This means that a mere 4 per cent of non-white women were recognised overall.

Overall, 74 per cent of the total Doodles acknowledged white people.

When these figures were broken down further, global Doodles – Doodles seen everywhere around the world – honoured white people in 91 per cent of cases.

Of this figure, 84 per cent which men, which means that white men were seen in over three quarters (76 per cent) of global doodles.

SPARK Movement has launched the hash tag #DoodleUs and is urging Google to correct this “imbalance”.

SPARK activist Celeste said: “Google Doodles may seem light-hearted, especially when they’re accompanied by quirky games and animation, but the reality is that these doodles have emerged as a new manifestation of who we value as a society—a sign of who ‘matters.’

"Just like statues, stamps, and national holidays, you know that if someone is featured on Google’s homepage, they’ve done something important.”

Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead, told the Mail Online: “Women have historically been underrepresented in almost all fields: science, school curricula, business, politics -- and, sadly, doodles. 

“We’ve been working to fix the imbalance in our doodles -- this year we're hoping to have women and men equally represented. 

“So far this year we’ve done doodles for as many women as men, a big shift from figures below 20% in past years.”

The research was carried out using Google’s Doodle database at www.google.com/doodles and focused on Doodles that celebrated individuals, but not festivals or holidays named for people.

SPARK Movement collected information about the person’s race, gender, and geographic location in the world, which parts of the world the Doodle appeared in, and what the person achieved in their lifetime.

It looked at the total number of Doodles of people published from 2010 to 2013 across all regions and countries. It also included both global Doodles and regional Doodles (Doodles only visible in certain countries and regions).

There were 445 total Doodles honouring people between 2010 and 2013.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

    Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

    Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

    Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

    £45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition