UN Women ads use Google’s suggested searches to highlight sexism

21 Oct 20132 Shares

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Segment of UN Women ad by Ogilvy and Mather Dubai

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A series of powerful ads created for UN Women highlight the world’s gender inequality using suggested searches supplied by the world’s most popular search engine.

This hard-hitting campaign was created for UN Women by Christopher Hunt, head of art for Ogilvy and Mather Dubai. UN Women is a United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Simple, but incredibly effective, Google’s widely recognisable search box is placed over the mouths of women featured in the ads, and searches beginning with phrases like ‘women shouldn’t’ and ‘women cannot’ turn up suggested queries such as ‘women shouldn’t have rights’, ‘women shouldn’t vote’ and ‘women cannot be trusted’.

UN Women Google search ads

UN Women Google search ads

UN Women Google search ads

UN Women Google search ads

These suggested searches come from real searches performed in March this year, and even today you will find similar results. Google’s autocompleted search terms differ across the globe, but below are screenshots of searches performed in Dublin today using Google.ie.

Google search - gender inequality

Google search - gender inequality

Google search - gender inequality

Google search - gender inequality

Google’s ability to suggest common searches as users start inputting characters often turns up surprising, sometimes humorous, results, but in some cases the search engine can find itself in trouble. In 2011, a hotel in County Louth went so far as to sue the search giant for incorrectly suggesting that it was going into receivership through this function.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com