Dear Member, Love WIS
Welcome to the squad!
Every WIS member is united by the inclusive spirit of soccer; it’s why we love it so much. Our network is a space committed to dismantling all forms of prejudice so that soccer culture can reflect the diversity at the heart of the world’s game.
WIS isn’t here to advance “a certain type of woman.” Our memberships are free, and we will keep yelling that we support ALL women until ALL women are supported. The WIS community loves and is inspired by LGBTQIA+ folks, BIPOC women, those facing ableism or financial hardships, plus any other underserved queens! We created WIS with you and for you.
To us, inclusion means making sure that everyone can see a place for themselves in our network. Celebrating diversity is more than just representation. It’s about listening to, learning from, and honoring the opinions and experiences of people unlike ourselves.
As our community strives toward complete equity, we want to include some useful tips on how members can promote inclusivity on our platform. Like WIS, we are all growing, so this document is designed to be living. Please let us know if there is something else you want to see included, and we can all learn together.
The WIS TEAM
WIS Community Tips On Inclusivity
We will always prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion but unfortunately, no one, including us, will always get it 100% right. That’s why our community promotes a “call-in culture” to address any communication or content that is not fully sensitive to the experiences of all members. Sometimes a person’s intentions are good but in reality, their behavior offends. If you publicly call out someone for an oversight, you may shame them from further participation and then we all lose the opportunity to learn. Instead, you can call them in by explaining how they can be more inclusive. A call-in is like a call-out but done out of love and respect. This could mean sending a private message to someone, talking one on one, or asking us to mediate communication between WIS members. It’s always okay to be wrong and learn from a mistake.
That being said, we will not tolerate discrimination, abuse, or harassment of any kind on our platform. This conduct will result in a person’s removal from the network.
Pronouns: why they’re important and why we use them
Including your pronouns when you introduce yourself and respecting the pronouns others use is an important part of respecting diverse identities. It’s why they’re on your WIS Playcard!
You should use pronouns even if you identify as straight and cis (cis meaning you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth.) Pronouns immediately signal to others that you are supportive of all the LGBTQI+ community and they normalize discussions around gender. These are wins for everyone!
Let’s face it, emojis are now a fun and bizarre part of our culture. However, their cultural “significance” can have damaging implications for certain groups. A heads up — it’s best practice to use your own skin tone. If you are white don’t use a skin tone darker than your own as a sign of solidarity. Whilst this action may be well-intended it’s appropriation since it presents you as a member of a group who is impacted by racism when offline you are not. Here’s a useful guide to white allyship through emoji use.
For a more extensive list on emoji inclusivity check out feminuity’s blog here.
Let’s comment and interact online with respect.
Person First Language: what it is, why it’s important
Person-first language is language that places a person first and acknowledges any condition, difference in ability, or diagnosis second. Using person-first language is all about respecting the dignity and strengths of every individual. For example, you could say “a person who has dyslexia” instead of “a dyslexic person.” But remember, people, can choose to refer to themselves in whatever way feels most empowering to them.
Safeguarding Mental Health and Wellbeing
We promote an open dialogue on mental wellness because it allows us to support each other’s specific needs on any given day. Our Slack channel dedicated to mindfulness is a space where we encourage members to share any tips or feelings they have related to mental wellbeing. We understand the vulnerability women have felt inside male-dominated industries like sport and we are committed to safeguarding women in this space. For this reason, members who identify as men must request permission to directly connect with other members.
Ally Members join WIS as a pledge to help dismantle gender inequity. It’s crucial that men firstly listen to the experiences of women and then learn how best to use their own gender privilege to advocate for women. There is no change without action, and WIS resources give men actionable steps to support more women in the soccer industry and beyond. Allies — dive in!
The WIS community loves and embraces all types of sexuality and gender expression. We are a space that centers women and that includes all types of queer women and gender non-conforming people who identify with our mission. In sports culture LGBTQIA+ allyship is a vital part of promoting equity due to the specific obstacles to inclusion, like discrimination, LGBTQIA+ people can face.
Sports culture is crucial for communicating values within our larger society. Every WIS member who is not disadvantaged by racism must support our whole community by actively promoting anti-racism in soccer culture and beyond. Our WIS content and the EDI Slack channel is a space where members can engage in content that highlights anti-racism action tips.
“There is no in-between when it comes to confronting racial inequities or allowing them to persist. But there is so much we can do. Let us start now.” Ibram X. Kendi – How to Be Anti Racist.
As a member of the Women in Soccer community or a participant in Women in Soccer programming, I pledge to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, race, religion, ethnicity, or mind/body type. This means being receptive to the call-in culture we uphold, in addition to all inclusivity policies we listed in our welcome letter.