Are Google ads sexist?

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon built a testing rig and populated it with over 17,000 fake profiles, some male and some female. They then used this to analyse the results of Google job searches.What the research results showedTargeted ads are driven by many different factors, including search history and online activity so these profiles were set up fresh to eliminate any differences that might result from this. The only difference then was gender.The results were quite surprising – males were shown many more high pay jobs than females were. Whether the Google algorithm is sexist or not (and not everyone agrees that it is) there is still a problem. This is that our behaviour can be shaped by what we are shown – if girls for example grow up only seeing males doctors, scientists, engineers or construction workers, then they are quite likely to consider these ‘male’ jobs, which they are not.Likewise, if females are shown low pay jobs, they might come to think that this is the norm and not aim higher.The good news is that plenty of firms are doing their bit to encourage girls into careers with them.So, come on Google – sort it out; and girls – don’t be put off those high-pay jobs and don’t listen to any nonsense about ‘boys’ jobs and ‘girls’ jobs.

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