Google aims to highlight more diversity in doodles

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On January 7th, Google honored folklorist Zora Neal Hurston by posting a doodle on its homepage commemorating her birthday.

The doodles are quirky and fun illustrations that celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of iconic trailblazers throughout history.

However, according to an analysis conducted by the SPARK Movement, research shows that the Google doodles conducted over the past three years rarely honor famous historical female figures and even fewer African-American women, like Hurston.

Instead, the majority of the illustrations on the Google homepage were of white men – 62 percent to be exact.

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Because of this underrepresentation, a petition was launched on Change.org calling on the tech giant to “Give us Doodles Like Us.”

The petition reads:

Google says that its doodle selection process aims to reflect the company’s “personality and love for innovation,” but by drastically underrepresenting women and people of color Google reinforces the terrible myth that all of the world’s most significant discoveries have been strictly made by white men. The truth is that women and people of color have been among some of the greatest inventors, artists, authors, revolutionaries and creators the world has ever seen. We believe Google Doodles should reflect the diversity of its audience.

According to Jezebel, representatives of Google have responded to the criticism and said they were aware of the gender imbalance and hope to have men and women equally represented on their homepage in the coming year.

“Women have historically been underrepresented in almost all fields: science, school curricula, business, politics — and, sadly, doodles,” Ryan Germick, Google’s Doodle Team Lead, told the Wall Street Journal. “So far this year we’ve done doodles for as many women as men, a big shift from figures below 20% in past years.”

SPARK will continue to monitor Google’s progress over the year to determine if the tech company will add diversity to its doodle selections to better reflect the world.

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works