This Girl Can

This week saw the release of the second This Girl Can advert, tackling the barriers faced by women trying to get active. The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign was first launched back in January 2015 to address the gender gap in those who are regularly actively involved in sport. Sport England research revealed that a major barrier was the fear of judgement by others so the advert set about normalising the lumps and bumps most women have. Social media accounts were set up encouraging the use of the #thisgirlcan hashtag as well as the running community projects, such as the Broxtowe Girls Can in my home county of Nottinghamshire. The campaign was a success as it resulted in 1.6 million women starting to exercise.

The second advert has more of a focus on the power of women and is titled ‘Phenomenal Women’. It showcases more women involved in competitive sports, in contrast to the body image and participation centred first advert. It aims to inspire women to get active, whilst the community elements of the campaign attempt to make sport more accessible for women of all ages and body types. The website (www.thisgirlcan.co.uk) provides information on how to get involved will a wide variety of activities as well as telling the stories of the women involved in the advert.

However, this isn’t the first new advert related to the This Girl Can campaign. In July 2015, This Girl Can joined forces with England Golf, the Scottish Ladies Golf Association, the Scottish Golf Union, National Club Golfer, Lady Golfer and the PGA to launch ‘This Girl Golfs’. This campaign also centred around a video, this time breaking the stereotypes specific to golf. The video contains a voice over playing to the stereotypes while the imagery shows the opposite and features Ladies European Tour stars Carly Booth and Charley Hull, journalist Naga Munchetty and women and girls of a variety of ages, abilities and backgrounds. Some are just women who enjoy time at the range whilst others are elite level players. Another interesting element of the advert is the role played by males. In a sport dominated by men it would be unrealistic to promote an entirely female experience, instead the advert features male coaches, family members and friends supporting and having fun with their female counterparts whilst allowing the girls to take centre stage. The campaign was very successful and pushed female golf into the main stream media. By December 2015, 375,000 views had been recorded on the video with 80% of these being first time views. There were over 8,000 tweets including #ThisGirlGolfs in the first 6 months of the campaign (and the hashtag is still active today) leading all involved parties to laud the campaign a huge success.

The next step for the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is to work closely with the governing bodies of the major sports. Whilst sports like football and rugby are of the most accessible, the stigmas involved can put many women off giving them a go. Campaigns like ‘This Girl Golfs’ allows these stereotypes to be broken and can help drive a further increase in females regularly participating in sport.

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