THE woman behind the world-famous This Girl Can campaign is urging all Ballarat people to reconsider their sporting life and barriers to get moving.
Sport England chief executive officer Jennie Price finished off a fortnight-long Australian working tour with visits to Ballarat and Clunes to share ideas and scout our exercise models.
“Sport used to be obsessive – you had to be 100 per cent committed to the one club and playing the one sport,” Ms Price said. “As life changes, it’s quite normal to stop a sport or move on to something else – training two nights a week and playing on a Saturday may no longer be practical for someone starting a family.
“The key question is: are you still fit and active? Because that itself, is just as good for that person.”
Ms Price, hosted by Sports Central, took a closer look at Ballarat Cricket Association’s growing under-13 girls competition. In Clunes, the focus was on developing golf and lawn bowls programs, working to tap into non-traditional demographics, like Jack Attack for a fast-pace and social bowls match.
Sport England announced a landmark partnership with VicHealth to expand and adapt its deliberately edgy This Girl Can campaign.
The project draws on women of all sizes having a go and exercising with provocative slogans like, “I kick balls – deal with it”, to tackle the gender gap in female exercise participation and break down fears of being judged.
Since the original This Girl Can video, launched in 2015, there are three million more women exercising in England. The video had more than 100 million views, creating headlines in the United States and Australia.
The Victorian version will use Victorian women, and this was another key driver in Ms Price’s visit to Ballarat.
“If you get stuck in the city, then all you see is the city version of things,” Ms Price said.
Ms Price said the stronger sense of community was an advantage for regional Victorians, with sporting hubs offering a sense of familiarity as they tended to double as venues for other community events.
This Girl Can launches in Victoria next year but women can share their stories at thisgirlcan.com.au.