DDB Group Aotearoa and FINCH launch campaign to ‘correct the internet’

DDB Group Aotearoa and FINCH are behind a global movement designed to highlight and correct the inconsistency of searchable facts that disadvantage female athletes. Correct Internet aim is to highlight and correct the errors in internet search results and as a result make sportswomen more visible.

The campaign is the collective work of an international group of like-minded people who saw the need to back the issue, championed by Rebecca Sowden, founding partner of Correct the Internet and owner of the United Nations “Soccer for the Goals” member team Heroine – international sports marketing consultancy.

The problem was first discovered when DDB pitched for the Soccer Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. When researching facts about the world’s top soccer players, the team discovered that women held many of football’s records. However, when asked simply, asexual questions to find these facts, the internet wrongly put men before the statistically superior women in its search results.

Lex Hodge, Director at FINCH, says the campaign was a very collaborative process with the team working collectively towards a single goal – to correct the internet to help make sportswomen more visible.

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“When this came to me, I was beyond excited. The quest for justice, and the mana/strength to stand up and speak truth to power is so creatively liberating. There is no hesitation, no politics – the girl in the film just wants the truth. And that’s what’s so chilling – the place where we gather information just doesn’t give us the facts. It was important to me that with the film we gave the internet a sense of real presence, power in numbers.”

FINCH produced a very emotional video to launch the campaign which was shown at the NZ Football Ferns game against the US Women’s team at Eden Park on Saturday 21 January.

Rebecca Sowden says she is passionate about helping the world recognize all sporting heroes and empowering the next generation of sportswomen.

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“Many of the top athletes in the world are women. Many of the world’s sporting records are held by women. But when people search online for factual sports information about athletes, the results favor the male athletes, even when the female athletes have greater statistics.

“Because the internet has learned our bias, many of its search engine results are inconsistent, often favoring men, and change depending on who is searching. 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 its goal of empowering women through the power of sport, Correct the Internet was also supported by a 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 well-known athletes including The player from the Red Roses of English rugby, Shaunagh Brown, and NZ Football Fern Meikayla Moore.

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DDB Group Aotearoa Managing Director – Operations, Liz Knox said: “There is no easy way to correct the inconsistencies in search results. However, if people report these problems using each search engine’s built-in feedback function, they can be recorded and fixed. The problem is that most people don’t know about the suggestion feature, and recent design changes in some of the larger search engines make it harder to find.

“So, we’ve built a tool that makes it easy to submit feedback. And our campaign is designed to get a global community of people ready to speak up and take tangible action to reverse some of the gender biases that have dominated our search engines. Success will see a correction of these search results across the time,” Knox said.

A number of partners support the campaign through their channels, with extensive social media, OOH, TV, radio and PR activity.


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