#ThisGirlCan: Sport England Empowers Women In Sport

#ThisGirlCan is a new multi-channel campaign from Sport England aiming to get more women active in sport.


An online teaser film – Kelly vs Mum – featuring a mother excercising at home with ehr children kicked-off the initiative.



The digital platform, which will act as the campaign’s central hub, has gone live and a set of campaign images has been released to kick start a PR and social push.


The campaign is also activating across social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Further poster and print ads, plus experiential and physical aspects of the programme, will roll out from January 2015.


These will be led by a central, full-length TV spot that will air in the New Year and will feature 40 real women taking part in sport in a way that fits around their lives.


The activities shown range from jogging and netball, to swimming and zumba and all the creative focuses on ‘real women’ rather than ‘stars’ as researchers found elite sportswomen and celebrities were often seen as off-putting and unattainable.


The aim is to create a sense of solidarity, to encourage women to face their fears about sport by talking to female friends and relatives – to prompt a ‘moment of realisation’ where women recognise that they are not alone.


Sport England, the body which runs the public funding of grassroots sport, is setting up the programme following research which found that many women don’t exercise for fear of being judged.


The body ran focus groups with women aged between 14 and 40 across the UK to try and deepen its understanding of the barriers holding women back from being more active.


They found a fear of judgment far outweighs women’s confidence to exercise: common concerns ranged from embarrassment over sporting ability to worries about appearance.


The research also showed conflict between family commitments and sport: particularly with mothers fearing criticism for taking time away from their children in order to do something for themselves.


Sport England says this fear causes a divide between what women want and their actual behaviour.


Thus, the objective is to encourage, empower and enable women to join clubs, gyms and exercise in their homes.




According to Sport England, two million fewer women than men participate in sport and exercise regularly.


Furthermore, of the 9.4 million women aged 14 to 40 in the UK, 75% of theem (7.1 million) would like to be more active.


The announcement about the campaign coincided with the inaugural women’s sport conference – Transforming Sport­ – at Lord’s.


‘Young women have real issues about how they’re judged when playing sport,’ says Sport England CEO Jennie Price.


‘That is a barrier we want to break down. We want to create a new way of thinking and talking about sport.


‘Women do less sport and exercise than men, but most say they would like to do more. So we had to get to the bottom of what’s holding them back. We found out by talking to women of all ages up and down the country that what’s stopping them is fear, fear of judgement: whether that’s about how they look, whether they’re any good at it, or feeling guilty about spending time on themselves.’


‘Whichever way you slice it, women’s fear of judgment is sapping their confidence. This Girl Can is a celebration of all the women who are finding the confidence to exercise: it’s an attitude, and a call to action for all women to do the same.’


It also followed on from the revelation earlier this week in a BBC Sport Prize Money survey that revealed 30% of sports do not pay women equally to their male counterparts.


This new campaign comes around two years after Sport England pledged £493m in funding, across 46 sports, between 2013 and 2017.


Some of that money will go towards those activities the sporting body hopes will attract women – including netball (£25.3m), running (£22m), swimming (£20m) and tennis (£17.4m).


The money will be shared among grassroots campaigns such as Back to Netball – a coaching scheme that helps women get back into the game – and Us Girls Rocks, a female-only festival that allows visitors to sample different sports.


The initiative is part of an ever growing trend for empowering and encouraging women in sport and gender equality in sport around the world.


In recent months this has spanned a variety of brands, industries, spaces and approaches – from last week’s Chevrolet’s World Series sponsorship activation (see case study), to June’s #LikeAGirl campaign from Always,





Sport England #ThisGirlCan



Sport England #ThisGirlCan Facebook



Sport England #ThisGirlCan YouTube



Sport England Twitter




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