Sri Lanka’s Women’s Cricket Captain Chamari Athapaththu Challenges Women’s Empowerment Barriers Via #BigGirlsCan

Sri Lanka Womens Cricket Big Girls Can 1

With plenty of product placement for sponsor Red Bull, Chamari Athapaththu, the skipper of the Sri Lanka Women’s Team, fronts a campaign challenging the traditional rules and restrictions which have been imposed on women in Sri Lanka for generations to promote equality, freedom and to encourage more Sir Lankan girls to keep playing sport into adulthood.


The #BigGirlsCan campaign, developed with Magic mango, is a direct challenge to the sexist traditions imposed on Sri Lankan girls when they hit puberty. A ceremony is traditionally held in each girls honour at this stage in their life when they become what is colloquially referred to as a ‘big girl’ and have restrictive rules imposed upon them by family and society.


These included being warned not to associate with men not from their family, not to play sport, that wounds and scratches must be avoided and then it isn’t even appropriate for girls to ride a bicycle. With all these barriers thrown up at them, most Siri Lankan girls give up sport when they become ‘big girls’.


Athapaththu, who comes from the region of Kurunegala where these rules are strictly enforced, seeks to bring them to an end for future female generations.


The campaign is led by a hero spot running across social channels which reflects the fact that her own parents supported her cricketing dream and encouraged her to follow it.


The campaign sees the Sri Lankan role model state clearly that it was by not following these traditional rules that she grew up and became a genuine ‘big girl’ and invites the whole of Sri Lankan society to follow her parents’ lead to encourage girls to continue to follow their dreams.



Through #BigGirlsCan Chamari hopes to inspire future female generations in the world of sport.


The campaign was created by agency Magic Mango Sri Lanka where the team included Lead Creative & Copywriter Nalin Yapa, Creative Director Andrew Ebell, Associate Creative Director Channa Gorokgahagoda, Creative Group Head Nilantha Wijeyakumar, Art Director Tahiri Perera, Brand Lead Rinesh Jayaratne and Planner Sagar Hiranand, plus Agency Producers Dinesh Maheswaran and Thilum Wanniarachchi.


Production was by Sky Entertainers with Director Thameera Kariyawasam, Executive Producer Rasitha Jinadasa and Producer Neil Pereira.


“We have all seen many women’s empowerment movements around the world, but what truly inspired us as Sri Lankans was that it came to life because of a truly local insight,” commented Magic Mango Brand Lead Rinesh Jayaratne. “We all know of girls who faced these issues while growing up and believe it is time to change. It was very exciting to work with Chamari Athapaththu not just as fans, but because we believe that she could change the future.”



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