“Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog – 08/15/08” by DavidErickson is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
With the rapid development of science and technology in the 21st century, as one of the critical factors in the process of human development, the Internet has changed the social structure and rapidly integrated into all fields of human life by realizing platform innovation and sharing mode. However, in the era of web2.0, the disadvantages of the Internet have gradually emerged, among which the most controversial one is the harm to the Internet caused by the lack of diversity. In fact, the lack of diversity aggravates gender inequality and limits the industry’s innovation. Therefore, this essay will analyze the impact of the lack of diversity on the Internet on society and individuals from the labor force, gender cognition, and platform economy respectively.
- Lack of Diversity in the Internet’s impact on the Labor Market
The unequal employment of the workforce on the Internet has contributed to increasing racial disparities. Australia is a diverse country with more than a quarter of immigrants from other races; it has an enormous tolerance and accepts the production of multiple cultures. However, Australia with diverse cultures has a lack of diversity in the media industry; according to the research, white men make up 70 percent of the Australian media industry, while the proportion of Aboriginal people is only 1.2 percent (“media room”, 2020), which serious unequal racial difference in the labor force deviates from the development of a pluralistic society. At the same time, this prevents some aboriginal people and other ethnic groups from receiving the objective information reported by the media fairly, and the lack of diversity in the industry destroys the audience’s trust in the media, thereby inadvertently creating racially antagonistic misunderstandings and prejudice (“media room”, 2020).
In addition, the lack of diversity on the Internet undermines fair competition in the industry. According to statistics released by the Australian Human Rights Commission, 14.5 percent of people in Australia have Asian ancestry, but unfortunately, only 1.6 percent of Asians hold senior leadership positions (Ferguson & Kesteven, 2022). The culture of prejudice and stereotypes that prevent them from being in leadership positions is also known as the ‘bamboo ceiling’ (Xiao & Handley, 2019), and the invisible discrimination caused by this lack of diversity primarily hinders their personal career development and industry innovation, and misses some employees and ideas that have the potential to bring economic benefits to the company. Thus, unequal relationships and marginalization disappear when employees of color are treated fairly.
- Lack of Diversity on the Internet Increases Gender Bias
Another effect of the Internet’s lack of diversity is the unconscious control of human gender bias. Over the past decade, the value of men and women play a vital role in all areas of society; while women’s education levels and labor force participation rates have increased, the gender pay gap between men and women has not declined. Such as, worldwide statistics show that women earn on average about 20 percent less than men, while the average gender pay gap in Europe is 17 percent (Fransen et al., 2011). According to several authors as Fransen (2011), they believe that the primary source of income disparity is invisible gender bias. However, women’s ideas and abilities are not inferior to men’s; they have more cognitive and emotional empathy, which is the key to success in the sales industry; thus, they are not paid fair compensation, this has led to women being discouraged from entering higher industry jobs. Hence, lack of diversity on the Internet can exacerbate the development of unequal relationships between men and women, while gender bias can affect an individual’s mental health and work balance.
The lack of diversity on the Internet exacerbates children’s gender bias. For example, Google searches for boys’ toys often turn up cars or weapons. In contrast, girls’ toys are primarily pink dolls, and simulated kitchens, this distinction between toys may seem benign, but using gender to differentiate between different types of toys can limit their ability to develop necessary skills as they grow up (Heath, 2018). As a result, there are limitations to the way toys are marketed, and this gender stereotype is given to girls in childhood. Concurrently, the world-renowned business toy analysis report mentioned that boys’ toys usually use gray or dark colors, while girls’ toys are full of soft colors, they argue that this use of bold colors reiterates the limitations that color brings to children, and boys are encouraged by stereotypes to dominate (Narsaia, 2022). Therefore, when the Internet is no longer biased against gender, it will better protect women’s equal employment rights and economics and social harmony and stability.
- The impact of a lack of diversity on the Internet In the context of the platform economy
The Internet’s lack of diversity is reflected in the digital marketplace and its monopoly by enormous corporations. In recent years, the commercial operation of the Internet has become more mature, Internet technology giants have mastered extensive databases, and this efficient means of collecting information has brought them colossal benefits (McCarthy et al., 2021); while the Internet giants are developing and pursuing interests, they have inadvertently formed a monopoly market. However, Australia’s competition watchdog has revealed that Google and Facebook have an 80 percent share of the digital market, creating an emerging monopoly that is difficult to regulate and control; they effectively restrict the entry of new companies into the Internet market. According to the statistics show that only 3 percent of the companies started after 2015 are still active in today’s Internet market (P. X. McCarthy, 2022).
Therefore, the lack of network diversity will lead to a long-term lack of market competitiveness in the market. Technology giants usually use data advantages to exclude market competition, while platforms can not only use the Internet to use algorithms to prevent consumers from learning about new competitors (McCarthy et al., 2021), but also use the obtained data to enter other markets and destroy the orderly competition in other markets. On the other hand, large platform enterprises may hinder innovation through mergers and acquisitions of small and medium-sized enterprises with strong innovation capabilities, which will adversely affect the healthy development of the whole industry (McCarthy et al., 2021). It could be argued that the diversity of the Internet will promote an increase in productivity and is the core of effective competition, and entire internet industry will be more innovative and motivated (McCarthy et al., 2021).
In conclusion, web2.0 is increasingly building diversity in nature, and the media is spreading the Internet to encourage the public to create a pluralistic and tolerant society. The development of diversity can reduce the occurrence of marginalization for individuals and ensure equal rights and interests of women in employment and allows employees to reduce the sense of difference and stereotypes about race. In addition, on the social level, diversification can make the Internet industry more innovative, break the conventional Internet monopoly capital and develop a more orderly and fair competitive market, and also provide more efficient services to the public and promote the growth of the Internet economy.
- Reference List:
Australian media must do better on diversity. (2020, August 17). MEAA. https://www.meaa.org/mediaroom/australian-media-must-do-better-on-diversity/
Eswaran, V. (2019, April 29). The Business Case For Diversity is Now Overwhelming. Here’s Why. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/business-case-for-diversity-in-the-workplace/
Ferguson, Z., & Kesteven, S. (2022, June 1). There’s a lack of diversity in Australian leadership roles. These experts are trying to fix that. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-02/improving-diversity-in-leadership-roles/101065700
Fransen, E., Plantenga, J., & Vlasblom , J. (2011). Why do women still earn less than men? Decomposing the Dutch gender pay gap, 1996–2006. Taylor and Francis Online, 44,2012(33). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00036846.2011.589818?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Heath, N. (2018). Dolls for girls, trucks for boys: the experiment exposing our bias. [online] Topics. Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2018/11/30/dolls-girls-trucks-boys-experiment-exposing-our-bias.
McCarthy, P. X., Gong, X., Eghbal, S., Falster, D. S., & Rizoiu, M.-A. (2021). Evolution of diversity and dominance of companies in online activity. PLOS ONE, 16(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249993
McCarthy, P. X. (2022, May 20). The online economy’s lack of diversity. Cosmos Magazine. https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/internet/online-lack-diversity/
Narsaria, A. (2022, July 14). Why are boys not allowed to play with dolls? ScienceABC. https://www.scienceabc.com/social-science/why-are-boys-not-allowed-to-play-with-dolls.html
Rogers, J. (2020, July 6). Australia’s media has been too white for too long. This is how to bring more diversity to newsrooms. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/australias-media-has-been-too-white-for-too-long-this-is-how-to-bring-more-diversity-to-newsrooms-141602
Xiao, B., & Handley, E. (2019, November 1). How Asian-Australians are struggling to break through the “bamboo ceiling.” ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-02/asian-australians-struggling-to-break-bamboo-ceiling/11665288