Pixstory — the social media platform that puts the spotlight on evidence, not opinion — is partnering with Women in Soccer (WIS) starting today, Women’s Equality Day. The aim of this teaming up is to chip away at harmful or hateful speech online. Individually, each organization is already building a safe space through its own platform. Together, the groups expect to amplify their impact.
On its social app, Pixstory incentivizes integrity and fosters debate, instead of rigidity and friction. Each member is given an integrity score based on the validity of their posts, which affects the level of visibility their future posts are given. Women in Soccer manages an online hub of resources that aims to connect and uplift women and historically marginalized groups that are working in and around the sport — from team members on the field to fans in the stands to those making sports businesses run.
The partnership will lead to more inclusive conversations around soccer and amplify the voices of WIS members. Women is Soccer will use its Pixstory account to pass the microphone to groups that have been marginalized in sports, including women, trans and non-binary individuals and more. The group will also moderate discussions on equity in the world of soccer, allyship and the importance of safe spaces. The aim is to spur productive and respectful conversations, which can be quite rare in sports!
Consider a study conducted by humanitarian organization Plan International from 2019 that looked at posts from major sports news broadcasters in Australia. The organization found that about one-quarter of negative comments made towards female athletes were sexist, and 20 percent belittled women’s sports, athletic abilities and skills. Additionally, female athletes were receiving three times more negative comments on these posts than male counterparts.
“We deserve to be heard. We need more visibility, and we need more opportunity to tell our stories with confidence and in a safe environment,” Rachel LaSala, WIS managing director, told TriplePundit in an email interview. “The Pixstory team is malleable and open to feedback as they continue to develop their platform, and they are trying to help course correct the pitfalls of social platforms. That is important to us.”
LaSala noted that Pixstory already proved to be a committed partner at this year’s Equality Summit in London around the time of the recent Women’s Euros. “They entrusted ownership of the activation — a polaroid photography experience that involved creating 6-word stories — to us so as to ensure it best met the needs of our community. It made for a powerful impact on the members and individuals who joined us at the event. That was an early sign that WIS was teaming up with the right crew.” Pixstory will support additional WIS events, which LaSala wrote, help members form meaningful bonds and encourage “deliberate storytelling and conversation.”
But the benefits won’t flow one way. LaSala said, “We know Pixstory is just getting started – we hope to help them grow their impact and support of identities that need it most.” And that’s the type of partnership Pixstory is looking for. Appu Esthose Suresh, founder of Pixstory, wrote to 3P, “We want to make the platform synonymous with women’s sports.”
Athletics are already part of Pixstory’s DNA. After all, it was last year that the Paris Saint-Germain Féminine soccer club became a partner. In a press statement, NBA All-Star player Dwight Howard, who was also an early backer of Pixstory, said, “It was a natural step to join forces with the Paris Saint-Germain women’s team. The team embodies diversity and defends the same values as Pixstory.” When speaking of this new partnership with WIS, it was also the sharing of values that Suresh emphasized.
While Pixstory and WIS are pursuing greater inclusivity for the value it brings those who have been marginalized, there is also an economic case to be made for the work these organizations are undertaking. A brief from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts part of the economic case for equal opportunity this way: Disadvantaged groups become more engaged in the economy, while those that were previously given greater privilege are forced to take their work more seriously. That reasoning certainly applies to sports, giving just one more reason to get behind the initiatives, ambitions and values of WIS and Pixstory.
Image credit: Jeffrey F Lin via Unsplash
Roya Sabri is a writer and graphic designer based in Illinois. She writes about the circular economy, advancements in CSR, the environment and equity. As a freelancer, she has worked on communications for nonprofits and multinational organizations. Find her on LinkedIn.