This Girl Can
This Girl Can is a celebration of the active women who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get.
It’s a national campaign developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations, to inspire more women and girls to move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.
England Athletics is encouraging clubs to get involved and consider how they can create more opportunities for more women to get involved in the sport.
We will post news and updates for clubs. For our latest updates please see the News panel on the right hand side of this page (bottom of page if viewing on a mobile device).
Why athletics can benefit from the campaign
This Girl Can is a major cross-media campaign, you are likely to see advertising on television as well as on billboards in the street.
If your club has, or is able to create, opportunities for women to take their first steps into becoming involved in running and athletics the campaign and the resources being made available to you should help you make the most of the work that you do.
The fact that this campaign is being launched represents a great opportunity for our sport to reach out to new participants and bring new people into our clubs and sport.
By every measure, fewer women than men take part in sport. But with 75% of 14-40 year-old women in England wanting to exercise more, Sport England took a long look into what it is that is stopping them. Reasons ranged from getting sweaty in front of people, believing that they’re not fit or good enough and not having the right equipment. Even the word “sport” has negative connotations for many women.
Sport England looked closely at the various reasons behind the gender gap in sport participation and came up with one key insight that sums up why more women aren’t getting active. Women know they should be exercising – and most want to - but a huge amount of them aren’t. And it is the fear of judgement that’s getting in the way.
That’s where This Girl Can comes in – the big message to women that they come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability. It really doesn’t matter if you think you are rubbish or an expert.
This Girl Can: Running
Monday 22 June saw the launch of This Girl Can: Running, which England Athletics has worked to create with Sport England and a wide range of partners. Our aim is to get more women running, whether they start off with a lap of their local park or nipping out for a short run around the block.
Following the success of the initial This Girl Can campaign, Sport England now intends to encourage even more women to get active by providing them with activity-specific inspirational stories and engaging content. Which is why we are working with them on This Girl Can: Running, we want to show that running is for everyone.
The new This Girl Can: Running website has been launched at running.thisgirlcan.co.uk
How to get involved
Your club can sign up to get updates on This Girl Can at the Sport England website at www.sportengland.org/our-work/equality-diversity/women/this-girl-can.
The This Girl Can website is at www.thisgirlcan.co.uk.
You can download Run England's Group Leader Toolkit: Effectively Engaging Women in Running. This toolkit was written by Run Kent Activator Lucy Tomlinson, a marathon runner herself and someone who supports hundreds of Group Leaders who have helped encourage thousands of women to get running in Kent.
The reasons for women not wanting to take part in sport include believing that they’re not fit or good enough, not having the right equipment and family pressures. England Athletics run a Leadership in Running Fitness course that leads to a UKA qualification that, as well as advising on the training that is suitable for newcomers to running, also considers how to overcome some of the barriers people may perceive to exist. See below for more information.
Here are just a few suggestions if you are going to create activities for women who are new to sport:
Promote them and publicise them in places non-runners will see:
- Schools, community centres, nurseries and workplaces rather than lesiure centres
Hold them separately to your normal training nights
- newcomers won't feel intimidated by seeing your higher standard club athletes in action
- people who are normally at a club night can then help
- Change the venue to one newcomers may feel more confident or comfortable with - meet at a school, park or coffee shop
Use short loops for beginners session
- It is easy to keep tabs on everyone, give regular advice and encouragement
- No-one gets 'dropped' or has to worry about the group
- Beginners can mix walking and running without getting left behind
- People can encourage one another as they go
Time sessions to work for mums
- After school drop off time
- At the same time as young athlete sessions are available at your club
- Include non-running social activity - e.g. coffee and cake after sessions
- Goals improve motivation so consider encouraging people to work towards a shared target such as running a Race For Life or parkrun
Make more advice available
- Look to preempt some of the questions beginners may have about everything from kit, pacing themselves and eating before exercise with advice at the sessions or made available before hand
Who should go on this course?
If you have an interest in running for fitness and you’d like to lead a group, then this is the course for you.
How many days will it take?
One day, with no assessment.
What will I learn?
The course will focus on the safe organisation of achievable and progressive running activity and how to lead a group of runners of varying ability.
Topics covered include: The barriers that stop people from taking up running, and how a leader can make a difference for them. How to plan sessions and deliver a safe and fun warm up and a cool down. Demonstration and supervision of effective stretching The different types of activity that can make running varied and enjoyable. Helping runners to set and achieve SMARTER goals.
What will I be able to do?
The course is designed to prepare you to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people over 12 years of age and adults of any ability, size or shape. You may lead a group for your club and register with the Run England to deliver to new runners. Your qualification will provide you with insurance to lead a group within the limits of the course content. Leadership in Running Fitness will be accepted as a prerequisite course for the Running Coach qualification.
To download a leaflet please click on the image to the right.
To find a Leadership in Running fitness course near you please go to www.englandathletics.org/lirf