Google Images under-represents female CEOs

Occurred: April 2015

Can you improve this page?
Share your insights with us

A 2015 research study found that female CEOs in the US are significantly under-represented in Google Images' search results, impacting users' views on gender and work, and leaving the technology company open to accusations of sexism and gender bias.

Researchers at the University of Washington and University of Maryland discovered that women account for 27 percent of CEOs in the US, but only 11 percent of the top 100 Google image search results returned images of females. Female construction workers 'tended to be sexualised caricatures of construction workers'.

The researchers also found that the first picture of a woman on Google Images is one of Barbie in a suit which, ironically, linked to an article in satirical news site The Onion reporting on Mattel being criticised for encouraging 'young girls to set impractical career goals'. 

Operator: Alphabet/Google
Developer: Alphabet/Google

Country: USA

Sector: Business/professional services

Purpose: Rank content/search results 

Technology: Image analysis; Search engine algorithm
Issue: Bias/discrimination - gender

Transparency: Governance; Black box