Midpoint Series: Global Google Doodles as of June 24th, 2012

This Speaking Up post is part of the 2012 Midpoint Series. See all of the posts in the series here.

Yesterday, I took a look at the gender distribution of Doodles that have been shown in the United States. Today, we’ll look at the same information, but with a global view, since Google displays different Doodles in all of the countries where it has a presence.

Just like yesterday, the bottom of the post gives plenty of detail on my methodology and approach to counting both male and female individuals who are honored with a Doodle.

Worldwide Doodle gender distribution, 2008-2012, as of June 24, 2012.

Worldwide Doodle gender distribution, 2008-2012, as of June 24, 2012. Click to see the full-size version.

The chart above takes a look, year by year and in total, at the proportion of female honorees over the past several years of Google Doodles, along with a comparison to the total in the United States. This year, Google Doodles around the globe have honored just 6 women, compared to 55 men, so women represent only 9.8% of honorees in 2012. When we look back over the past several years, that jumps upward to 12.5% (252 men recognized with a personal Google Doodle, compared to 36 women). When Google is taken as a whole, global company, the gender representation of Doodles doesn’t look quite as terrible as when we look at the United States in isolation, but “not quite as terrible” is a long way from “good” or even “adequate.”

The rest of the post repeats some detailed information about my methods for counting the Doodles (just in case someone is reading this post but not yesterday’s). If you read all of this yesterday, skip it!

Google Doodles come in a couple of flavors. Here at Speaking Up, we focus on Doodles that honor a particular individual on that person’s birthday. There are also Doodles that recognize other events that could be tagged with a gender — things like 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.

In my gender analysis, I exclude these “other” types of Doodle, for reasons elaborated previously. This leaves out Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, certainly, but it also leaves out St. Patrick’s Day and Father’s Day. One particularly tricky case came up on June 2nd of this year, when Google highlighted the Queen’s Jubilee in several countries outside the U.S.. Since this Doodle recognized the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, rather than her birth, and is focused on her position rather than Queen Elizabeth II as an individual, I haven’t counted it in the global statistics.

My dataset also only goes back to 2008, since that’s when Google really started pushing more of these special logos, and started focusing more on individuals instead of major holidays or cultural events. As far as I can tell, no women were honored prior to 2008.

I’ve included the spreadsheet I use to track these statistics, which also includes some basic information on the other, gendered Doodles that were not included in the above figure. Take a look!


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