Seasonal spikes in women’s rights

Google searches on the terms "feminist', "feminism", and "women's rights"

Google searches on the terms “feminist’, “feminism”, and “women’s rights”

Playing with Google Trends led me to a mystery. If you look up search trends for “women’s rights”, “feminist” or “feminism”, the trend is downward. Down a whopping 70% since 2005 (I’m not really sure what is causing this trend, perhaps it will be the subject of a future post). But oddly enough, there are 2 annual spikes in April and November. As can be seen in the above chart from Google Trends, the spikes in April and November have been consistent since 2004, the earliest year for which Google displays information.

I wracked my brains, but couldn’t come up with a really satisfying answer for the cause of these peaks, so I posed the question to my Facebook hive. There were lots of guesses relating to elections, primaries and International Women’s Day in various countries. But none of these really lined up.

Fairly quickly, however, David Cuthbert came up with the correct result — midterm and final papers!

Google searches on "women's rights" and "term papers"

Google searches on “women’s rights” and “term papers”

That was creative thinking! Under my own steam power, I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to arrive at this answer.


  1. Phantastiq!
    I found this article searching for an explanation of the weird feminist spikes.
    By the way, the downward trend for feminism can be explained by the downward trend of “term papers”.
    So the question is: why “term papers” search decreased?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *