DDB Group Aotearoa and FINCH are driving a global movement designed to highlight and correct the inconsistency of searchable facts that disadvantage sportswomen. Fix Internet The aim is to highlight and correct inaccuracies in Internet search results and thus make sportswomen more visible.
The campaign is the collective work of an international group of like-minded people who saw the need to join the cause, defended by Rebecca Sowden, founding partner of Fix Internet and team owner member of United Nations “Football for the Goals” Heroine – an international sports marketing consultancy.
The problem was first discovered when DDB pitched for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. When researching facts about the best footballers in the world, the team discovered that women held many football records. However, when you simply ask, gender-neutral questions to find these facts, the internet was wrongly putting men before statistically superior women in his search results.
Lex Hodge, director of FINCH, said the campaign had been an extremely collaborative process with the team working collectively towards one goal – fixing the internet to help make sportswomen more visible.
“When it came to me, I was beyond excited. The quest for fairness and the mana/strength to stand up and speak truth to power is so creatively liberating. no hesitation, no politics – the girl in the movie just wants the truth. And that’s what’s so scary – the place where we gather information just doesn’t give us the facts. It was important to me that through film, we give the Internet a sense of real presence, of power in numbers.
FINCH produced a very moving video to kick off the campaign which was shown during the NZ Football Ferns game against the USA Women’s team at Eden Park on Saturday 21st January.
Rebecca Sowden says she is passionate about helping the world recognize all sports heroes and empowering the next generation of sportswomen.
“Many of the world’s top athletes are women. Many world sports records are held by women. But when people search online for factual sports information about athletes, the results favor sports people, even when sports people have better stats.
“Because the internet has learned our biases, many of its search engine results are inconsistent, often favor men, and change depending on who is doing the search. Our goal is to empower the next generation of sportswomen by ensuring that when women are the best in the world, the internet reflects that,” says Sowden.
With the aim of empowering women through the power of sport, Fix Internet has also been endorsed by the United Nations initiative, Football for the Goals (FFTG), as well as the support of organizations such as Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA), Women Sport Australia and New Zealand Football, and many athletes well including Red Roses England rugby player Shaunagh Brown and New Zealand footballer Fern Meikayla Moore.
Liz Knox, Chief Operating Officer of DDB Aotearoa Group, said: “There is no easy way to fix inconsistencies in search results. However, if people report these issues using each search engine’s built-in feedback feature, they can be logged and fixed. The problem is that most people aren’t familiar with the feedback feature, and recent design changes on some of the bigger search engines are making it harder to find.
“So we’ve created a tool that makes it easy to submit feedback. And our campaign is designed to bring a global community of people ready to speak up and take real action to reverse some of the gender bias that rules our search engines. Success will see these search results correct over time,” Knox said.
A number of partners are supporting the campaign on their channels, with extensive social media, poster, TV, radio and PR activity.