On October 18th I came across this article and wondered ‘Is this 2013?’ The article was about a powerful ad campaign for UN Women. The images reflect the still rampant misogynistic attitudes in, well, pretty much everyone. To be fair I examined closely how Google Autocomplete works.
According to the Google support page on the subject:
‘The search queries that you see as part of Autocomplete are a reflection of the search activity of all web users and the content of web pages indexed by Google.’
‘Autocomplete predictions are algorithmically determined based on a number of factors (including popularity of search terms)’
I wasn’t able to find what features other than popular search terms that Google uses to operate Autocomplete. However it seems that the autocomplete does, at least somewhat, reflect what people are searching for. Before jumping to conclusions though it is important to remember:
1. People could be searching for any reason. Even if they are typing in something as terrible as ‘women shouldn’t have rights’ they may not agree with this.
2. Google Autocomplete is by no means scientific research. Whether or not misogyny is a problem in a certain place or even worldwide can only be determined by proper research. Especially for topics as important as women’s rights.
On that note:
One of the best examinations of women’s rights worldwide is the United Nations Development Programme. It’s Women’s Empowerment programme has a really good statistical examination of gender equality/ inequality.
The numbers do reflect some staggering problems (i.e. The United States overall ranking is 42, behind places such as Lithuania and Croatia) but it also shows big improvements such as increases in the number of women receiving post-secondary education and entering the workforce.
Here is a really good slideshow for a quick look at some modern problems with gender inequality. With sources cited for more reading.
In conclusion the ad the campaign was clever and brought much needed attention to an important issue but is not necessarily a reflection of reality. To truly understand the plight of women requires diligent research.
On a personal note I did do some research and found gender inequality is still a big problem. Even in places such as the United States, Canada and England. This was deeply disappointing.
Humanists support equal rights for everyone. Gender inequality is an archaic problem best left in the past.