Research Article: “Occupational Gender Bias Prevalent In Online Images, Rutgers Study Finds”
From Rutgers University:
Rutgers researchers say gender bias and stereotypes corresponding to certain occupations are prevalent on digital and social media platforms.
The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, finds that online images of men and women in four professions – librarian, nurse, computer programmer, and civil engineer – tend to represent and reinforce existing gender stereotypes.
In the study, Rutgers researchers analyzed search results for images of people in each of the four occupations on four digital media platforms: Twitter, NYTimes.com, Wikipedia, and Shutterstock. They also compared the search results to the gender representation of each occupation as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The results showed gender stereotypes and biases to be prevalent. Women were overrepresented as librarians and nurses and underrepresented as computer programmers and civil engineers, especially when the collection and curation of content is largely automated by an algorithm, such as on Twitter.
However, on platforms where individuals can generate and curate content more directly, such as the NYTimes.com and Shutterstock, stereotypes were more likely to be challenged. Search results of NYTimes.com, for example, produced images of civil engineers who are women, and nurses who are men, more often than would be expected given their representation in the Labor Statistics.
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Note: Along with the final version of the paper (linked above, paywall) a preprint version (open) of the paper is available on the lead author’s website.
The paper is titled:
“Female Librarians and Male Computer Programmers? Gender Bias in Occupational Images on Digital Media Platforms”
31 pages; PDF.
Filed under: Journal Articles, News
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.