Google Images mis-represents womens' job roles

Occurred: December 2018

The job roles of women are mis-represented in Google Images, according to research studies in the US and UK.

While women accounted for 46 percent of the US labour market, only 40 percent of the search results showed a woman doing the work, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of over 10,000 Google images. Pew reviewed US Bureau of Labor 2017 data for 105 common occupations and compared them against pictures appearing in a Google Image search for those professions. 

An AdView study found that females appeared in 11 percent of Google Image UK search results for the term 'CEO', in contrast to the 36 percent recorded by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). Similarly, females were underrepresented by 21 percent for the term 'Solicitor' and by 22 percent for the term 'baker'.

Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: UK; USA
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Rank search results
Technology: Search engine algorithm; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - gender
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Research, advocacy 🧮