Predictive Keyboards Helps Empower Women and Girls

This “Sheboard” helps empower girls and women. Plan International developed a keyboard for Android phones that uses predictive text input to suggest gender neutral language and diverse words — for example, suggesting “achiever” instead of “princess” to remind girls and women of their full potential.

“The language we use and gendered norms have a particularly profound impact on the agency and empowerment of girls and on their expectations for their future.” Sheboard stated.

Plan International hopes to start a conversation around language associated with gender stereotypes and encourage a new mind frame around girls and their abilities. In a study of 400 children aged 5, 6, and 7, of which half were boys and half were girls, the 5-year-olds were less likely to differentiate between genders in regard to intelligence. But by the age of 6, girls were more likely to categorize boys as “really, really smart” and categorize themselves as “nice.”

“Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. Gender Stereotypes About… stated. “These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers.”

Plan International says this has to do with our language and how we talk to boys about their abilities while we talk to girls about their bodies — but hopefully implementations like “Sheboard” will change that.