By now you will have heard of the This Girl Can campaign – going into its second season, it’s everywhere from TV to viral on social media. The ad came as a reaction to the difference of two million more men than women playing sport, and also from research by Women in Sport which found out teenage girls avoid sport and PE as they felt getting sweaty, messy and dirty was unfeminine, and they also felt that boys got more encouragement to participate in sport.
This Girl Can addresses those barriers by showing real women being active and loving it, whether they’re sweaty, jiggling, or red-faced. You can now be part of the campaign yourself by creating your own This Girl Can ad, like mine, above. I was recently a part of a radio documentary exploring why teenage girls try to get out of PE and sport. You can hear me lisp my way through the last couple of minutes of the show, talking about my experiences of sport in school, and the advice I’d give to my own fourteen-year-old self.
I wasn’t particularly ‘sporty’ in school, though I always enjoyed cross country (an excuse to get away from school and into nature!) but I was really active outside of school – riding and mucking out my pony was my exercise. This has carried on throughout my life and I would always rather take the path of most resistance; walking somewhere rather than getting the bus, for example.
As well as my dulcet tones there’s some really interesting insights from teenage girls in the show, so hopefully their words will encourage you to think of your own physical activity journey through school, and use this to inspire the younger girls in your own life.