The first This Girl Can Week begins tomorrow (Saturday) as our award-winning campaign calls on women to choose themselves and take the time to get active.
After more than a year of disruption, the week is a response to our own research that shows women have found it harder than men to maintain their activity habits curing the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The figures come from wave 18 of our coronavirus activity, attitudes and behaviour tracking research, carried out by Savanta ComRes on our behalf.
It shows that while two thirds of women agree it’s become even more important to keep active through the pandemic, women have had less time to do so than men – 61% of men say the pandemic has given them more time to exercise, compared to just 54% of women.
An increase in domestic responsibilities is one cause, with 16% of women listing childcare as a reason why they’re unable to prioritise time for exercise, compared to only 7% of men.
So This Girl Can Week, running from 12-19 June, will see the campaign encourage women across the country to ‘choose you’ and find a way to get active that works for them and makes them feel good.
The week will shine a spotlight on women and exercise and celebrate how getting active can make women feel happier, stronger and free.
And This Girl Can campaign lead Kate Dale hopes it'll inspire women to put their own needs first.
“As our insight shows, the last year has been difficult for women when it comes to doing something for themselves, particularly when it comes to getting physically active,” she said.
“With continued barriers such as childcare commitments and not feeling fit enough or good enough, This Girl Can aims to frame exercise in a way that highlights every benefit we can all get from moving more, like feeling healthier, better mental and emotional health, flexibility, building strength and – most importantly – having fun.
“Through our first ever This Girl Can Week, we want to inspire and encourage women to be more active.
“No matter your shape, size, or ability, now is the time to choose you and celebrate moving your body in whatever way makes you feel good.”
Our research also highlighted the barriers many women feel are preventing them from being active, with 42% saying they’re too tired, 25% not feeling fit enough, the same amount concerned over work commitments and 14% citing worries over Covid-19 itself.
More positively, the data did show the importance women have placed on exercise as a tool for coping throughout the pandemic, with 66% saying they use it to manage their physical health and 64% doing the same for their mental health.
No matter your shape, size, or ability, now is the time to choose you and celebrate moving your body in whatever way makes you feel good.
Campaign lead for This Girl Can, Sport England
So whether it’s a brisk walk, a slow run, a trip to the pool or a dance around the living room with friends, This Girl Can Week ambassador Karen Hauer is encouraging women to share choosing themselves and getting active using #ThisGirlCan.
“I’m delighted to support the This Girl Can Week and help the campaign continue to break down the barriers that make women feel like they can’t get active,” said the Strictly Come Dancing star.
“The week is an important reminder that every woman should have the freedom to put their own needs first and get active in a way that suits them.
“Getting active for yourself doesn’t have to be about having the newest equipment or masses of space – whether it’s dancing around your living room with friends or a quick walk round the block, if it gets your heart rate up and your body moving then you’re doing it right.”