The UK’s viral This Girl Can campaign that encouraged women to become more active and told them “I jiggle therefore I am” is about to launch an Australian spin-off.
The original 2015 video attracted more than 16 million views on YouTube and Facebook and featured women of all ages and sizes jogging, jumping, sweating and playing sport.
The organiser, Sport England, estimates the campaign inspired 2.8 million British women to get more active and hopes a partnership with VicHealth in Australia can produce similar results.
“When we started to evaluate it, that was when it got very exciting,” Sport England CEO Jennie Price told News Breakfast.
“We discovered women were really recognising themselves in the ad and as a result were thinking, ‘maybe I can get out there and get fit’.”
Sport England released a follow-up video earlier this year that continued the theme and focussed on women in particular stages of their life, such as motherhood and older age, as well as those with a disability.
It will be the first time the campaign has been replicated outside the UK and follows a VicHealth survey that found a worrying gender gap in sport participation and attitudes towards exercise in Australia.
Fast facts on exercise
- 41pc of women too embarrassed to exercise in public (26pc for men)
- 39pc of women believed they were not coordinated when it came to physical activity (24pc for men)
- 46pc of women found gyms and fitness centres intimidating (42pc for men)
- 30pc of women were uncomfortable in exercise clothing
- 72pc of women felt good about themselves when they did some exercise
Source: VicHealth survey of more than 2,500 Victorians
“Our research shows too many Victorian women feel too intimidated or embarrassed to take part in sport or exercise,” VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said.
“Concerns about how they look when they exercise, that they aren’t skilled enough to exercise or that they should be prioritising their family or work over activities, are real obstacles many women face when starting a sport or exercise program.”
VicHealth is now asking Australian women to share their story on a new website and will create localised TV ads that will air in early 2018.
“We want to see this campaign inspire women to smash old-fashioned stereotypes about what women can and can’t do in sport, in the gym and in their neighbourhoods,” Ms Rechter said.
Vision-impaired Melbourne-based jogger Neslihan Sari has joined the campaign early and said it was only 10 months ago she decided to embrace running.
“I haven’t really been very active throughout my life. It’s only in the past couple of years I decided to do something about my health,” she said.
Ms Sari’s parents discouraged her from getting involved in sport as a child for fear she would get hurt.
“I was very afraid to get involved,” she said.
“But I think throughout the years various things have happened throughout my life and I ended up hitting rock bottom and then I decided I needed to make a change.
“I needed to say yes to opportunities. I needed to take the steering wheel to my life.”
Ms Price said she was excited to show UK women the message had gone global.
“This is our first international partnership and to be able to go home and say to British women, ‘there are Australian women who feel the same, who are experiencing the same’, that’s very powerful.”