Google executive Megan Smith saw a report released in March that detailed a lack of diversity in Google Doodles. According to the SPARK Movement, from 2010 t0 2013, approximately 62 percent of the doodles were honoring white men. Women accounted for 17 percent and women of color only four percent. The report was picked up by news sources worldwide and met with indignation from advocacy groups. Smith stated her excitement that people were noticing the problem, because the company’s doodle team had already been asking why the lack of diversity existed, and began to make plans for Google doodles to feature more women.
SPARK was unaware at the time, but the grand computer conglomerate had been discussing how to improve the diversity issue in the illustrations. In phone calls and a Google+ hangout with SPARK members, Smith revealed that the doodles team was sincerely working on balancing gender representation in 2014. Ryan Germick, Google Doodle’s team lead, stated that he and his team have been trying to go against the grain and be more fair and representative of the users they serve, which is everybody. Germick’s team is composed of five men and five women.
According to CNN, if the SPARK report included the 2014 figures, they would have revealed an upward trend in gender balance. As of June 2, women accounted for 49 percent of the 51 doodles shown worldwide, according to statistics given to CNN by SPARK representative Celeste Montano. People of color comprised 33 percent of the doodles, a marked improvement from the 2013 numbers.
Google is leading a battle against accusations of being a chauvinistic company. Last week, Google released a report that showed that women accounted for 30 percent of their workforce, while whites made up 61 percent. Their desire to prove their involvement in improving diversity is the reason attributed to why Google Doodles feature more women than they did prior.
Google said in a report on their website that they are not where they want to be when it comes to diversity, and it is difficult to address these challenges when they are unprepared to utilize facts and discuss them openly. They said that all of their efforts, including releasing these figures, are aimed at attracting the most talented and diverse candidates for their workforce.
Representatives from Google cited the challenge of making the doodles more diverse was the “unconscious bias” that history has towards minorities and women. Google stated that now that they are aware of the bias, they can begin to consciously shed it, and that it is the responsibility of all individuals and companies to assume responsibility and make sure that minorities and women are properly represented in media.
Most of the doodles are created months in advance by taking suggestions from the community. They fall on significant historical figures’ birthdays, holiday and anniversaries for important events. Google is working hard to attract minorities to its ranks of employees, and, according to the company, increasing visibility of people of color and women in all walks of life, starting with featuring more women in its Google Doodles.
By Andres Loubriel