Analysis of Google Searches Uncovers Parents' Gender Bias

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's analysis of anonymous, aggregate data from Google searches, described in a recent piece in the New York Times, uncovers parents' gender biases and suggests that parents are concerned about their boys' intelligence and their daughters' appearance: "contemporary American parents are far more likely to want their boys smart and their girls skinny.  It’s not that parents don’t want their daughters to be bright or their sons to be in shape, but they are much more focused on the braininess of their sons and the waistlines of their daughters."

For example, parents are two and a half times more likely to ask "Is my son gifted?" than "Is my daughter gifted?" but they are twice as likely to ask how to get their daughters to lose weight as they are to ask how to get their sons to do the same, one and a half times more likely to ask whether their daughter is beautiful than whether their son is, and nearly three times more likely to ask whether their daughter is ugly than whether their son is ugly.


These findings are intriguing, but one should be careful about drawing strong conclusions from Stephens-Davidowitz's analyses, who does not discuss concerns with the representativeness of his sample or the reliability and validity of his results.

Read more:
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/google-tell-me-is-my-son-a-genius.html?_r=0&referrer

TeachingwithData.org resources:
Gender Inequality in the US (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3161)
Gender in STEM Education (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3446)

Frederique Laubepin

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