In the 1960s only 1 per cent of men and 2 per cent of women in England were classed...
this girl can
Sitting in a sports development office, I am often surrounded by token sports equipment; table tennis bats escaping from desk drawers, netball bibs ‘airing’ over chairs and swimming hats waiting for a dip. Sometimes I feel like the non-sporty novice who snuck in undetected! What I lack in hand-eye coordination and any knowledge of scoring in tennis, I make up for in enthusiasm. However, I used to run. A lot. Everywhere! I even found that I had become too impatient to walk, so I would factor in a run as my commute to and from work. Then I joined the team at Wesport and found myself faced with a desk.
Even with all the support from flexible working hours and extra time allowance for sport and physical activity, I became slower and forgot how good I felt when I exercised. I kept telling myself that I’d gone for a run last week and that I would definitely be entering that race next week. Without realising it, I had become an unhealthy statistic – inactive! On a day to day basis, I am championing sport and physical activity, sounding like a broken record. My most favourite vice in particular, is women in sport, and oh how I can complain about female representation, gender equality, and emotive pictures being used to represent female sports stars.
Then, along comes This Girl Can. The sporty me could not believe that a couple of pictures and a hashtag would evoke any kind of change. I didn’t really think the pictures or ‘sassy’ mantras would speak to the nation. Then the images and mantras started jumping out on billboards, que ‘the real women’ pictures. A trickle feed of new releases from Sport England saw a whole host of imagery that really did start to champion all types of activity.
What I didn’t anticipate was the community that This Girl Can delivered. The positivity that this movement raised was almost deafening. Fast forward a year and it’s tough to find someone who hasn’t heard of This Girl Can, unless they’ve been living under a rock. Not to mention the 13 million people who viewed the full advert online when it launched in 2016. It’s definitely inspired me to try new activities. I’ve even ventured away from the treadmill and tried a spin class (that’s a stationary exercise bike class, not a hula hooping class as I originally thought!).
I’m so excited to see This Girl Can back, new pictures and great one liners are popping up everywhere. Here at Wesport we are currently rallying our This Girl Can troops and planning a This Girl Can tour. We’ll be at some of the big shopping centres and launching a workplace tour alongside Women’s Sport Week this June. Stay tuned on our This Girl Can page and join the conversation using #ThisGirlCan on social media…Maybe I’ll try a group spin selfie next week!