The inequality between the sexes is now also being blamed on digital voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa, a report from a UN agency has claimed.

It says that the often submissive and flirty responses offered by the assistants to many queries – including abusive queries – reinforce ideas of women as subservient.

Digital assistances are an increasingly useful tool for many households, and indeed smart speakers are said to be the seventh most widely used device on a daily basis.

The UK government said in April that smart speakers could now be used to access more than 12,000 pieces of government information.

But the UN report believes that there is a problem with smart speakers and digital assistants.

“Siri’s ‘female’ obsequiousness – and the servility expressed by so many other digital assistants projected as young women – provides a powerful illustration of gender biases coded into technology products, pervasive in the technology sector and apparent in digital skills education,” the report said.

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