Using the Google Doodle dataset I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I looked at the gender distribution of Google Doodles from 2008 to 2011. Previous to 2008, Google Doodles were more commonly posted for celebrations of major holidays or for interesting events, and were less focused on honoring particular individuals, which is why I focused on this timeframe. As you can see in the image below, the representation of women among Google Doodle honorees has been consistently dismal.
I’ve uploaded the spreadsheet that I used to track the distribution and to make the chart above; the spreadsheet also includes information on other Doodles that were not included in the above figure. For the chart, I only included Doodles that were specifically noted in their database as celebrating a birthday.
As I pointed out yesterday Google Doodles also recognize non-birthday events that could be tagged with a gender — such as International Women’s Day, the anniversary of JFK’s inauguration, or the discovery of the X-ray, for a few examples that cover the spectrum of the types of events that are Doodled. I excluded these partly to focus on the individual honorees and to highlight the gender disparity, but also because it is much harder to objectively and consistently divide the other kinds of events along gender lines. While some of the inventions and discoveries honored are attributed to men, for instance, Google Doodles didn’t specifically call out those individuals. Plus, in some cases, multiple men were responsible for the invention or discovery, so those events would get more “weight” in my counts. And who would get credit for Paddington Bear’s 50th birthday — the author, a man, or the illustrator, a woman?
That’s why I’m including the spreadsheet. If you’re interested, the information in the file could be used to look at a different subset of events than what I chose to include in the chart above. Take a look.