Who has scored the most goals in international football? The internet will generally tell you it’s Cristiano Ronaldo, when it’s actually women’s footballer, Christine Sinclair.
DDB Group Aotearoa and FINCH are behind a global movement designed to highlight and correct the inconsistency of searchable facts that disadvantages sportswomen. Correct The Internet’s aim is to highlight and correct the inaccuracies in internet search results and make sportswomen more visible as a result.
The campaign is the collective work of an international group of like-minded people who saw the need to get behind the cause, championed by Rebecca Sowden, founding partner of Correct The Internet and owner of United Nations’ ‘Football for the Goals’ member Team Heroine – an international sports marketing consultancy.
A number of partners are supporting the campaign across their channels, with extensive social media, OOH, television, radio and PR activity.
The problem was first discovered when DDB pitched for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. When researching facts about the world’s top footballers, the team discovered that women held many of football’s records. However, when asking simple, ungendered questions to find these facts, the internet was incorrectly putting men ahead of the statistically superior women in its search results.
Lex Hodge, director at FINCH, says the campaign had been a hugely collaborative process with the team working collectively towards a single goal - correcting the internet to help make sportswomen more visible.
“When this 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. There is no hesitation, no politics - the girl in the film just wants the truth. And that is what is so chilling - the place we gather information from just isn’t giving us the facts. It was important to me that through the film we gave the internet a feeling of real presence, power in numbers.”
FINCH produced a highly emotive video to launch the campaign which was shown at 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 recognise all sporting heroes and empower the next generation of sportswomen: “Many of the world’s leading athletes are women. Many of the world’s sporting records are held by women. But when people search online for factual sporting information about athletes, the results favour the sportsmen, even when the sportswomen have greater statistics.
“Because the internet has learnt our bias many of its search engine results are inconsistent, often favouring 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,” adds Sowden.
With its aim to empower women through the power of sport, Correct The Internet has also been endorsed by United Nations initiative, Football for the Goals (FFTG), as well as the support of organisations such as Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA), Women Sport Australia, and New Zealand Football, and many well-known athletes including English rugby’s Red Roses’ player, Shaunagh Brown, and NZ Football Fern Meikayla Moore.
DDB Group Aotearoa managing director - Operations, Liz Knox, said: “There’s no easy way to correct the inconsistencies in search results. However, if people report these issues using each search engine’s inbuilt feedback function, they can be logged and fixed. The problem is, most people aren’t familiar with the feedback function, and recent design changes on some of the larger search engines make it harder to find.
“So, we built a tool that makes sending feedback simpler. And our campaign is designed to get a global community of people willing to speak up and take tangible action to reverse some of the gender biases that have been ruling our search engines. Success will see a correction of these search results over time,” Knox said.