afaqs! news bureau

Star Sports and DDB Group look to eliminate bias against sportswomen in two separate ad campaigns

One tries to make the Indian cricket team gender-neutral while the other takes on internet search discrimination.

Two ad campaigns in the past few days, in their own methods, are doing their bit to tackle the bias against sportswomen.

Start Sports, a sports broadcasting network, is trying to make the Indian cricket team gender-neutral. The ad is a couple of weeks before the start of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, and a month-and-a-half before the reported start of the first season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL).

A 30-second ad shows a lady trying to buy an Indian cricket team jersey with the name Sharma on the back. The store owner assumes she wants the men’s ODI team captain Rohit Sharma’s jersey. She did not. She wanted the jersey with Deepti Sharma’s last name on it.

“Watch WomenInBlue create H̵i̵s̵ Her-story as they get set to conquer the world!” reads the ad’s description on YouTube.

This ad comes a few days before the BCCI, India’s cricket governing body, announced the owners of the WPL’s five teams. The auction for the teams fetched a combined Rs 4,699.99 crore.

While Star Sports looks to change the perception of the Indian cricket team as a gender-neutral one, DDB Group Aotearoa (Māori-language name for New Zealand) and FINCH, a film production company are driving a global campaign 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 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.

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.

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