Sport England is taking its successful This Girl Can campaign to the world’s first health promotion foundation, VicHealth, to promote getting active among women of all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability in Victoria and Australia.
The initial three-year partnership, announced today at an event in Melbourne, Victoria, will see VicHealth adopt This Girl Can’s ground-breaking formula of showing real women and girls playing sport and getting active, to help others in the state manage the fear of judgement that holds many back – hoping to achieve similar success to the original, that has inspired 2.8million more women to get active to date.
The announcement comes as research from VicHealth finds that physical activity in Victoria sees consistently higher participation rates amongst men.Three in five Australian women (60 per cent) are not sufficiently active – participating in less than 30 minutes of physical activity on four or more days a week – with one in five women doing no physical activity in a typical week.The research found that the fear of judgement however is widespread in Victoria, with 41 per cent of Victorian women aged over 25 and over being too embarrassed to exercise in public and almost half finding sporting clubs intimidating.
VicHealth is hoping to use the This Girl Can formula to help women manage this fear of judgement and get active in any way that suits them by showing the experiences and stories of women ‘like me’.The campaign will look to create an active and engaged network of women across Victoria, supporting each other and encouraging getting active. VicHealth will use social and mass media to reach and inspire women across the state and the rest of Australia.
There will be two stages to the initial partnership with VicHealth:
Community Engagement (July 2017 – early 2018): VicHealth will source the stories of Victorian women via social media and a dedicated website (thisgirlcan.com.au
) to inspire others to get active. A mobile Story Pod will visit sites around metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to gather stories from women across the state.
Mass Media Campaign (2018): In early 2018, VicHealth will launch the full This Girl Can campaign. The campaign will include an all-new TV ad featuring real Victorian women from the Community Engagement phase, as well as online advertising, posters, radio and social media. VicHealth will work with a range of sports and organisations to amplify the campaign and reach as many Victorian women as possible.
The ground-breaking This Girl Can campaign from Sport England funded by The National Lottery was the first to feature real women exercising in mass advertising, through telling the unedited story of women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and a range of diversities being active and playing sport.
Since 2015, the campaign has featured women who are typically not represented in media. The women shown being active in the adverts reflect teenagers to over 60s, pre and post-natal women, women with disabilities, women with different ethnicities and women of all shapes and sizes. Research has shown that if women can identify themselves in advertising they are more likely to manage the fear of judgment associated with being physically active.
Sport England CEO, Jennie Price, said: “The fear of judgment is a universal issue facing women the world over, and while This Girl Can has made a real difference since it launched by helping 2.8million women get active, we want to take our campaign further.
“Australian women face the same barriers to being active as English women – whether that’s worrying about how they look when they exercise, that they aren’t skilled enough to exercise or that they should be prioritising their family or work over activities.
“Using the insight we have gained over the last two years from women across England, we want to take This Girl Can international, with the ultimate goal being that girls will grow up in a world where there is no fear of being active. This partnership is an important step forward.”
VicHealth CEO, Jerril Rechter said she hoped the Victorian version of the campaign would encourage local women to smash outdated stereotypes and take advantage of the increasing opportunities for women in sport and physical activity.
“Over the last few years there has been a shift in momentum, with more and more opportunities opening up for women and girls to take part in sport and physical activity,” she said.
“We want to see this campaign inspire women to smash old-fashioned stereotypes about what women can and can’t do in sport, in the gym and in their neighbourhoods.
“We’ll be celebrating active Victorian women who are doing their thing no matter how they look, how well they do it, or how sweaty they get.”