Voice assistants are becoming integrated into our home lives. Alexa announce is used daily in my home to 'encourage' my daughter to come down for dinner. Or, for her to let me know that she's "not ready mummy, I'm not finished feeding Rosebud [her walking rolling hedgehog robot]".
But have you considered how using women's voices for most of these devices may be doing more harm than good....
The major digital voice assistants—Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant—all have one major default in common: A female voice. The psychological reasoning offered for the auto setting as a female voice is that they are "better received" over a male voice, coming off more agreeable and sympathetic.
However, women have been the main occupants of administrative roles for decades. Currently, approximately 95% of administrative assistants are women. Do we find women's voices more agreeable because we're used to having women 'assist' us?
It is reasonable to follow this thought through the prevalence of female voice assistants may feed into our (male, female, young, old) subconscious biases against women.
We know that subconscious biases are harder to shift or quash than conscious ones. Stereotypes like these matter as they can affect how young girls and young women see themselves and the opportunities that are available to them in the future.
"So the question is, do we find women's voices more agreeable because we're used to having women assist us?" Kanouse posited. "Even though the choice to use a woman's voice is typically grounded in research, it's alarming that many people are more comfortable with a woman assisting them—and by extension, more comfortable telling a woman what to do."