By Aimone Sharif
In January, Sports England released their “This Girl Can” video, reaching out to girls nationwide. Since its launch, the perspective of female sports has drastically changed all around the UK.
An incredible 36 million views of the video has lead female participation to increase. Counties, local organisations and schools are now targeting the campaign towards a primarily female audience. Active Students, a sports organisation working alongside Sports England to promote a sport centred lifestyle, has decided to launch their very own “This Girl Can” week. During the 19th through 25th of October, students and citizens of Hatfield will get together to celebrate female participation in a week of female only events at the University of Hertfordshire.
As Active Students prepares themselves to embrace their biggest challenge so far, promoters and marketers are spreading the word about the event. The members of Active Students are wholeheartedly reaching out to people every day by monitoring a booth on campus, creating a buzz on social media, and wearing the kit to act as human promotions.
The need to promote female participation comes from a recent study indicating that 2 million women are doing less sport than men (41.7% men against 31.6% of women). While the UK ranks third in Europe for the number of men playing sport, it lists a catastrophic 19th for women; whereas the Swedes rank within the top five for both genders.
Not having enough time, money, or general inconvenience were the recurring reasons that women mentioned stopped them from participating. One Hatfield student admitted, “I think female participation is so low because of the media and the image of the perfect body, leading girls to feel fat, ugly or very self-conscious.”
Active Students is celebrating five years in Hertfordshire and is determined to reach out to as many students as possible. A study focusing on data from October 2014 until May 2015 has recently showed that 43% of girls attend their sessions versus 57% of men. To tackle this issue, they have organised their own female football week, and are targeting more women to join in order to reach a balance.
This week is about encouraging female activity and participation – leaving body consciousness, pride, timidity, and excuses at the door while having fun!