Google Autocomplete Search Algorithms and the Arabs' Perspectives on Gender: A Case Study of Google Egypt

Linda S. Al-Abbas, Ahmad S. Haider, Riyad F. Hussein


Search engines have become an essential part of everyone's life, with Google being the most popular. Google Search provides the autocomplete feature for faster and easier search results, offering 10 top suggestions at a time, and these may influence how users view different social groups.  Different scholars have explored online discourse to reveal stereotypes about certain groups. However, little or no attention has been paid to technological affordances to reveal broader gender biases and stereotypes in the Arab World. This study examines how Google autocomplete searches can reflect the Arabs' perspectives on gender. Google Egypt is selected since it is top-rated in the number of internet users. Google is queried by entering a combination of Arabic question words followed by the Arabic equivalents for men and women. One hundred and ninety questions were generated and categorized according to the qualities they referenced. The most common assumptions about men indicate that they are cheaters, liars, self-dominant, emotionally strong, and smarter than women. They are also stereotyped as being more likely to admire young women, prefer sons over daughters, and desire polygamy. Women, on the other hand, are stereotyped as plotting, materialistic, emotional, and sensitive. The study concludes that since such generalizations may entail exaggerations and are not evidently right all the time, one must be careful about adopting such stereotypes and making them part of each gender's views of the other. Bearing in mind the perpetuating function that technology may have of existing stereotypes and social norms, users and developers of Google alike must pay more attention to gender biases that algorithms may establish and disseminate.



Arabic; Google's Autocomplete; Anonymity; Stereotypes; Gender; Online Discourse

Full Text:



Abu Baker, K. (2003). Marital problems among Arab families: Between cultural and family therapy interventions. Arab Studies Quarterly, 25(4), 53-74.

Aggrawal, A. (2009). Forensic and medico-legal aspects of sexual crimes and unusual sexual practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Ahmad Al-Akour, N., Khassawneh, M., Khader, Y., & Dahl, E. (2009). Sex preference and interest in preconception sex selection: a survey among pregnant women in

the north of Jordan. Human Reproduction, 24(7), 1665-1669. doi:

Al-Abbas, L. S., & Haider, A. S. (2020). The representation of homosexuals in Arabic-language news outlets. Equality, Diversity Inclusion: An International Journal.


Al-Badayneh, D. M. (2012). Violence against women in Jordan. Journal of family violence, 27(5), 369-379. doi:

Al-Kholy, J. (2006). ‘Ta’addud al-Zawjaat wa Hikmatuhu fil Islam,’ (Multiple Marriages In Islam & It’s Wisdom). Journal of the Islamic University of Medina, 46, 222-

Al-Maaitah, R., Al-Maaitah, H., Olimat, H., & Gharaibeh, M. (2011). Arab women and political development. Journal of International Women's Studies, 12(3), 7-26.

Alkhammash, R. (2020). Discursive representation of the EU in Brexit-related British Media. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies, 20(1), 77-91.


Allam, R. (2008). Countering the negative image of Arab women in the Arab media: toward a “Pan Arab Eye” Media Watch Project. Policy Brief, The Middle East

Institute, 15, 1-8.

Alomosh, A. F., & Al Hourani, M. A. K. (2017). Domestic Violence in the Arab World. In E. S. Buzawa & C. G. Buzawa (Eds.), Global Responses to Domestic Violence

(pp. 291-307). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Baker, P., & Potts, A. (2013). ‘Why do white people have thin lips?’Google and the perpetuation of stereotypes via auto-complete search forms. Critical Discourse

Studies, 10(2), 187-204. doi:

Burgess, D., & Borgida, E. (1999). Who women are, who women should be: Descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotyping in sex discrimination. Psychology, public

policy, law, 5(3), 665-692. doi:

Buttle, F. (1992). Shopping motives constructionist perspective. Service Industries Journal, 12(3), 349-367. doi:

Cohen, O., & Savaya, R. (1997). “Broken glass”: The divorced woman in Moslem Arab society in Israel. Family process, 36(3), 225-245.


Davison, R. C. (2012). Critically thinking about the brain and gender differences. In B. Bogue & E. T. Cady (Eds.), Applying research to practice resources. New York:

Academia Press.

de Boise, S. (2015). Boys Don’t Cry? Men, Masculinity and Emotions. In S. De Boise (Ed.), Men, Masculinity, Music and Emotions (pp. 45-69). London: Palgrave


Douki, S., Nacef, F., Belhadj, A., Bouasker, A., & Ghachem, R. (2003). Violence against women in Arab and Islamic countries. Archives of women’s mental health, 6(3),

-171. doi:

Dreber, A., & Johannesson, M. (2008). Gender differences in deception. Economics Letters, 99(1), 197-199. doi:

Eagly, A. H., & Steffen, V. J. (1984). Gender stereotypes stem from the distribution of women and men into social roles. Journal of personality social psychology, 46(4),

-754. doi:

Eisend, M. (2019). Gender Roles. Journal of Advertising, 48(1), 72-80. doi:

El Gilany, A.-H., & Shady, I. (2007a). Determinants and causes of son preference among women delivering in Mansoura, Egypt. Eastern Mediterranean health journal,

(1), 119-128. doi:

El Gilany, A., & Shady, E. (2007b). Determinants and causes of son preference among women delivering in Mansoura, Egypt. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal,,

(1), 119-128.

Fairclough, N. (2001). Language and power (Vol. 2nd). New York; Harlow, Eng: Longman.

Fischer, A. H., & Manstead, A. S. (2000). The relation between gender and emotions in different cultures. In A. H. Fischer (Ed.), Gender emotion: Social psychological

perspectives (Vol. 1, pp. 71-94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ghanem, R. (2011). Men shorter than wives still carry social stigma. ARAB NEWS. Retrieved from

Ghoussoub, M. (1987). Feminism―or the eternal masculine―in the Arab world. New Left Review, 161(1), 3-18.

Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of personality social psychology, 70(3), 491-


Goodwin, J. (2003). Price of honor: Muslim women lift the veil of silence on the Islamic world. Boston: Plume Group.

Google. (2019). Autocomplete policies. Retrieved from

Haider, A. S. (2019a). The Representation of Al-Megrahi’s Release in Arabic and English Newspapers in 2009 and 2010: A Corpus-assisted Discourse Study. Dirasat,

Human Social Sciences, 46(1 Supplement 2), 297-317.

Haider, A. S. (2019b). Syrian-Lebanese Relations: A Corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis of Bashar Al-Assad’s Speeches and Interviews. Dirasat, Human Social

Sciences, 46(4), 551-570.

Haider, A. S. (2019c). Using Corpus Linguistic Techniques in (Critical) Discourse Studies Reduces but does not Remove Bias: Evidence from an Arabic Corpus about

Refugees. Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 55(1). doi:

Haider, A. S., & Hussein, R. F. (2020). Analysing headlines as a way of downsizing news corpora: Evidence from an Arabic–English comparable corpus of newspaper

articles. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 35(4), 826–844. doi:

Haider, A. S., & Olimy, S. (2019). The Representation of Laji’een (Refugees) and Muhajireen (Migrants) in the Headlines of Jordan News Agency (PETRA). International

Journal for the Semiotics of Law-Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, 32, 155–186. doi:10.1007/s11196-018-9550-4

Hauser, R. M., & Featherman, D. L. (2013). The process of stratification: Trends and analyses. New York: Academic Press.

Hearn, J. (1993). Emotive subjects: Organizational men, organizational masculinities and the (de) construction of “emotions.”. In S. Fineman (Ed.), Emotion in

organizations (pp. 142-166). London: Sage Publications.

Hilton, J. L., & Von Hippel, W. (1996). Stereotypes. Annual review of psychology, 47(1), 237-271. doi:

Husain, R. T., Ahmad, A., Kara, S. A., & Alwi, Z. (2019). Polygamy in the Perspective of Hadith: Justice and Equality among Wives in A Polygamy Practice. MADANIA:

JURNAL KAJIAN KEISLAMAN, 23(1), 93-104. doi:

Inhorn, M. C. (2013). Why me? Male infertility and responsibility in the Middle East. Men Masculinities, 16(1), 49-70. doi:

Internet World Stats. (2019). Top 20 countries with the highest number of internet users Internet World Stats. Retrieved from

Joharry, S. A. (2020). Examining Malaysian Public Letters to Editor on COVID-19 Pandemic: A Corpus-assisted Discourse Analysis. GEMA Online® Journal of Language

Studies, 20(3), 242-260. doi:

Judd, C. M., & Park, B. (1993). Definition and assessment of accuracy in social stereotypes. Psychological review, 100(1), 109. doi:


Kajackaite, A., & Gneezy, U. (2017). Incentives and cheating. Games Economic Behavior, 102, 433-444. doi:

Kia, A. (2019). The concept of responsibility of men and women in Islam. Art Human Open Acc J, 3(5), 247-251. doi:10.15406/ahoaj.2019.03.00137

Kluwer, E. S., Heesink, J. A., & Van de Vliert, E. (1996). Marital conflict about the division of household labor and paid work. Journal of Marriage the Family, 58, 958-


Matharu, H. (2015). Wife 'divorces husband for being too short'. Independent. Retrieved from


Mohler Jr, R. A. (2015). We cannot be silent: speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, and the very meaning of right and wrong. Nashville, Tennessee:

Thomas Nelson.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/ OHCHR. (2014). Gender stereotypes and Stereotyping and women’s rights. Retrieved from

Ottaway, M. (2004). Women's rights and democracy in the Arab world. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Washington, DC.

Patrick, W. L. (2019). Why Some Younger Men Want to Date Older Women. Psychologytoday. Retrieved from


Perry-Jenkins, M., & Folk, K. (1994). Class, couples, and conflict: Effects of the division of labor on assessments of marriage in dual-earner families. Journal of Marriage

the Family, 56, 165-180. doi:

Prentice, D. A., & Carranza, E. (2002). What women and men should be, shouldn't be, are allowed to be, and don't have to be: The contents of prescriptive gender

stereotypes. Psychology of women quarterly, 26(4), 269-281. doi:

Reagan, B., & Blaxall, M. (1976). Women and the Workplace: The Implications of Occupational Segregation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rehman, J. (2007). The sharia, Islamic family laws and international human rights law: Examining the theory and practice of polygamy and talaq. International Journal

of Law, Policy the Family, 21(1), 108-127. doi:

Roy, S., & Ayalon, L. (2019). Age and Gender Stereotypes Reflected in Google’s “Autocomplete” Function: The Portrayal and Possible Spread of Societal Stereotypes.

The Gerontologist, XX(XX), 1-9. doi:

Rubery, J. (2017). Why is women’s work low-paid? Establishing a framework for understanding the causes of low pay among professions traditionally dominated by

women. Oxfam Discussion Papers, Oxford.

Sabir, Y. (2008). Superiority of Muslim Women Over Hoors (Hoor al-Ayn/Houris) of Jannah (Paradise). Retrieved from

Said-Foqahaa, N., & Maziad, M. (2011). Arab women: Duality of deprivation in decision-making under patriarchal authority. Hawwa, 9(1-2), 234-272.


Schein, V. E. (1973). The relationship between sex role stereotypes and requisite management characteristics. Journal of applied psychology, 57(2), 95.


Scherhorn, G., Reisch, L. A., & Raab, G. (1990). Addictive buying in West Germany: An empirical study. Journal of consumer policy, 13(4), 355-387.


Serota, K. B., Levine, T. R., & Boster, F. (2010). The prevalence of lying in America: Three studies of self-reported lies. Human Communication Research, 36(1), 2-25.


Sharaf, M. F., Rashad, A. S., & Mansour, E. I. (2019). Son preference and child under nutrition in the Arab countries: is there a gender bias against girls? Middle East

Development Journal, 11(2), 199-219. doi:

Stangor, C. (2000). Stereotypes and prejudice: Essential readings. United Kingdom: Routledge

StatCounter. (2019). Search Engine Market Share Worldwide. StatCounter Retrieved from

Turner, J. C. (2010). Social categorization and the self-concept: A social cognitive theory of group behavior. In J. C. Turner, and E. Lawler. (Ed.), Advances in group

processes: Theory and research (pp. 77-122). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Wanjek, C. (2003). Bad medicine: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from distance healing to vitamin O. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Wodak, R., & Ludwig, C. (1999). Introduction. In R. Wodak, and Christoph Ludwig. (Ed.), Challenges in a Changing World (pp. 11-19). Vienna: Passagen Verlag.

Woodruffe, H. R. (1997). Compensatory consumption: why women go shopping when they’re fed up and other stories. Marketing Intelligence Planning, 14(2), 325-334.


Zaidi, T. (2016). Polygamy: In The Perspective of Islam. Social Sciences International Research Journal, 2(1), 201-205.



  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2131

ISSN : 1675-8021