How True Are These Gender Biased Internet Ads?

How True Are These Gender Biased Internet Ads?

By on Jul 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

In the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history, the U.S. trounced Japan in a 5-2 victory in the Women’s World Cup final. The U.S. team will receive $2 million from FIFA for the win. Last year, the German men’s team, which won the World Cup, collected a cool $35 million.

While FIFA is notorious for sexism among other dubious behaviors, a Carnegie Mellon University study confirms that other companies are also biased about women—especially when it comes to money. One troubling example: female job seekers on Google were less likely to be shown ads for high paying jobs than male job seekers.

Using an automated tool called AdFisher, researchers explored how Google’s automated ad server reacted when users with identical profiles–except for their gender–interacted with Google’s ads. The technology found that males were shown ads for a career coaching service for “$200k+” executive positions 1852 times, but the female group was shown those highly paid positions a mere 318 times. While the premier career coaching service ads were the top ads shown to males, the top ads shown to females were a regular job posting service and an auto dealer.

Google allows its advertisers to target a particular audience, so any company is allowed to promote different ads based on gender. In addition, the survey wasn’t able to pinpoint the source of the discrimination, whether it was Google, the advertiser, both of them, or the algorithm that was tracking the user behavior. Regardless of the cause, the research proves the inherent perils of customization and targeted ads.

The study was released just before a wave of criticism hit the tech industry, which was accused of gender bias in hiring practices. In general, at major companies like Facebook, Yahoo and Google, women hold few leadership posts and make up around 30 percent of employees.

To be fair, women have not exactly flocked to get degrees in computer science and related math and science areas. Those are the jobs tech companies value most since all new digital products require coding skills.

– See more at:

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *