February was a good month for gender representation in Google Doodles. Here in the U.S., Harriet Tubman was honored and 50% of the month’s Doodles were dedicated to women. Around the world, Doodles honored Raicho Hiratsuka, Clara Campoamor, Sarojini Naidu, and Gabriele Münter. That’s exactly what I want to see!
Here are a few more of the Doodle-Worthy Women whose birthdays fall in February:
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 112th birthday of John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, among other American classics. Here at Speaking Up, I’m finding it incredibly refreshing that the first 3 U.S. Doodles of the year honored women, so that in 2014, Steinbeck is the exception thus far. We’ll learn about another American artist born on this day: Marian Anderson.
2013 came to an end a little over a month ago, but in that time, the Google team has kept me plenty busy with a series of Doodles honoring women. And that’s an interesting start to a new year, following one in which Google really improved their record on gender representation — but they still have a lot to do. I’m of several minds here: I’m genuinely pleased with the improvement, but well aware that it takes conscious and long-term effort for projects like the Doodles to make lasting change when it comes to gender bias. And I’m also well aware that the strides made in 2013 still fall far short of 50% gender parity, and that 12 years of Doodles was too long to wait to make a commitment to equity. This is a step in the right direction, but the work is not done.
Let’s look at how Doodles dealt with their dismal gender record in 2013, both here in the U.S. and around the world.
(For more information on my methodology and approach to counting male and female individuals honored with a Doodle, check out this post from summer 2012. There is one significant update: this year, there were some Doodles that were shown in most countries except in the United States. Google’s “Finder” service has recently started categorizing some such Doodles as “Global,” adding a complication to my stats — in the past, only Doodles that were truly shown on every Google homepage were listed that way. I’ve tried to carefully keep track, but it’s possible I’ve made a mistake or two! Contact me if you are interested in the dataset that I use to build this site’s gender statistics.)
Click below the fold for the 2013 year in review.
Yesterday, Google Doodles continued their excellent record in 2014 by honoring abolitionist, suffragist, heroine, and leader of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman.
Tubman was born sometime between 1820 and 1825; because her parents were slaves, the details of her birthdate and place were not recorded, and are lost to history. For that reason, the Doodles team wouldn’t be able to honor Tubman on her birthday, but used her Doodle to usher in Black History Month here in the U.S. As part of my research for Speaking Up, I’ve thought quite a bit about how many key figures in women’s history do not have recorded birthdates (more on that coming soon, in a new project!) — so I applaud the Doodles team for using this opportunity to honor an incredible figure in our nation’s history.
The Google Doodle honoring Harriet Tubman, posted on February 1st, 2014.
The second U.S. Google Doodle of the year honors zoologist and primatologist Dian Fossey, born on this day in 1932. For the time being, 100% of U.S. Doodles in 2014 have been dedicated to incredible women, something I didn’t know that I’d ever see when I started this project. I hope that the Doodles team keeps up this good work and continues on a path of coming to truly respect and desire diversity.
I wrote about Fossey on this date last year, when the Doodle that day honored Frank Zamboni. Today’s post will be a small update on that earlier one.
The Google Doodle honoring Dian Fossey on what would have been her 82nd birthday.
(Just a note: Google Doodles have recently changed their “Finder” algorithm so that Doodles not shown in the United States are nevertheless labeled as “Global.” This is making my job of sorting through them a bit more difficult, but FYI, the Simone de Beauvoir Doodle was not displayed in the U.S.)
December rounded out 2013 with two incredible U.S. Google Doodles honoring female creators and innovators. Today, I’ll share with you our final four 2013 Doodle-Worthy women, all born in the month of December:
Google is starting the year off on the right foot: here in the US, the first Doodle of 2014 honors American writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston.
The Doodle celebrating the birth of Zora Neale Hurston, posted on January 7th, 2014.
Here at Speaking Up, let’s learn more about the Doodle-worthy Hurston (stay tuned for an upcoming post wrapping up the Doodle gender stats for 2013!):