Fear of judgement, lacking confidence, not having enough time – Sport England research shows there are a mix of practical and emotional pressures that stop many women from being as active as they would like. In fact, 40% of women aged 16 and over are not active enough to get the full health benefits of sport and physical activity, compared to 35% of men. That’s why in 2015, the groundbreaking This Girl Can campaign was born.
It celebrates active women who are doing their thing no matter how they look, how well they do it or how sweaty they get. In October 2018, the third phase of This Girl Can launched – Fit Got Real.
Fit Got Real builds on the campaign’s achievements so far. It’s specifically reaching out to women of all backgrounds and ethnicities who feel left behind by traditional exercise. In a nutshell, it seeks to challenge the conventional idea of what exercise looks like.
We want to inspire more women and girls to wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement, time, money and energy are barriers that can be overcome.
Whether it’s running around a park pushing your child in a pram, hula hooping at home or teaching yourself how to swim using YouTube, it all counts as exercise.
“I believe we can tackle this gap, because our research shows that 75% of women would like to do more,” she said.
“Before we began this campaign, we looked very carefully at what women were saying about why they felt sport and exercise was not for them. Some of the issues, like time and cost, were familiar, but one of the strongest themes was a fear of judgement. Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again.
“There are some stark inequalities when it comes to different levels of exercise amongst women in England. Many of the pressures of modern life do not make it easy for women to have the confidence and motivation to be active. The health and wellbeing benefits of being active should be available to all women, and that is why we have a new message – Fit Got Real – to celebrate the creative and often unconventional ways many women are fitting exercise into their busy lives.”
For more about This Girl Can, go to www.thisgirlcan.co.uk where you can find out about the women in the campaign, get tips on how to get active and join the national debate. Please use the hashtags #thisgirlcan and #fitgotreal to join the conversation on social media.
You can also check out the Sport England insight pack, Go Where Women Are, which includes up-to-date research exploring the relevant motivations, barriers and triggers to getting more women more active.