By Olivia Ogilvie
THIS Girl Can is a national campaign developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations.
And it is a celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.
The campaign is the first of its kind and features women of all shapes and sizes with different sporting abilities.
By using images that are the complete opposite of the idealised and stylised images of women it hopes to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport.
The campaign does not hold back in its attempts to try and encourage women to beat their barriers.
Hard-hitting campaign slogans like “sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox” and “I kick balls, deal with it” have been used in the campaign to encourage a change in attitudes and help towards boosting women’s confidence.
A case study taken from the “This Girl Can”campaign comes from Kelly, 31.
A single working mum-of -three from outside Manchester, Kelly has found a distinct way to fit exercise into her life since she had her third child – by working out at home, with her children.
Kelly said: “After I had my third child I just felt sluggish, I didn’t have any energy. I was due to go back to work and didn’t feel good about myself and that gave me the kick-start I needed to find a way to prioritise getting active. I make exercise a family affair.
“My kids are part of the workout routine – we put on music or a DVD on and just go for it together. It doesn’t feel like a pain to do it because it’s fun, and part of our life, and I really hope it has a positive effect on how my children view exercise as they grow up, so being active won’t feel like a chore, but just something they naturally do.”
Further research from the This Girl Can campaign looks into what is stopping women turning their ambitions into reality and research found a fear of judgement on appearance, ability or how they chose to spend time on themselves puts women of all ages off exercising.
There is also paediatric nurse Victoria, 29 from East London. While a lot of girls say that getting sweaty isn’t feminine, Victoria isn’t one of them.
In fact, Victoria is proud of getting hot, red faced and sweaty.
She said: “At first sweating may seem gross, but getting sweaty and red-faced shows your body’s working hard and that’s something to be proud of, not worry about.
“You have to put your shoulders back and hold your head high when you leave the gym or finish a run because having a sweaty face shows you’ve achieved something. It gives me more energy as well – I have to fit exercise around shift work because I’m a nurse and I often do a spin class before a night shift because it sets me up for what’s ahead.”
Overcoming the fear of judgement is the campaign’s key aim and Sport England CEO Jennie Price believes they can tackle this head on.