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Princeton Senior ­ses Big Data to Examine Global Digital Gender Gap

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Princeton University senior Masoomali Fatehkia during his internship in Doha at the Qatar Computer Research Institute of Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

A Princeton University senior used Facebooks advertising audience estimates as a data source to shed new light on the digital gender gap worldwide.


Princeton University's Masoomali Fatehkia used Facebook's advertising audience estimates as a data source to reveal insights on the global digital gender gap during an internship at the Qatar Computer Research Institute (QCRI).

Over 12 weeks, Fatehkia and QCRI's Ingmar Weber used Facebook's Ads Manager and custom software to automate the capture of gender-related data. Fatehkia and colleagues used the data to expand the International Telecommunications Union's statistical collection of digital gender access data from 84 countries to 152.

"This study presents a case of a low-cost data innovation to help monitor--or 'nowcast'--an important development indicator related to gender inequality that is a part of the [United Nations'] Sustainable Development Goals," notes University of Oxford professor Ridhi Kashyap, one of Fatehkia's mentors and collaborators. "The idea of nowcasting is to generate real-time predictions or measures based on data that are real-time, [and that are] much more frequently available and updated compared with conventional social science data sources."

From Princeton University
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