Friday, 3 February 2017

This Girl Can.

One of the things I love about our home city is it's enthusiasm in supporting various campaigns. In the run up to Christmas all buses, taxes and billboards were adorned with posters urging people to go vegan. Now that Veganuary is over, it seems to have moved on to a new focus - the campaign "This Girl Can". As I drive around the place we call home I can't help but be impressed by the pictures of women enjoying sports in all shapes and sizes.
This campaign has really struck a chord with me, both as a woman and as a mother. I love the message it is giving to girls and boys alike that just because you are a woman, doesn't mean you can't enjoy sport. For too long in this country sport has been dominated by the male species. Men's football is a bazillion pound sport, yet women have only recently started to be paid to play. Men's cricket is televised yet when GB women won the World Cup it was barely even recognised on the news programmes. And men's rugby has thousands and thousands of followers, thousands of pounds of sponsorship poured in to it, and expensive prizes for the winning teams, yet their female equivalent get to play in a field supported by a few handfuls of family and friends, usually.
But more than that, more than the professionals who make a living from sport, this campaign speaks to every day people, it speaks to girls at school who are too ashamed of their bodies to get in to the swimming pool, to women who have had babies who are too ashamed to go running in fear of someone seeing them.

 It reminds us all that something is better than nothing, and trying is better than not trying at all. Slogans like "one is better than none" and "lapping the people sat on the couch" are powerful messages to all of us.
As a mother to a young boy, who may or may not have as much interest in sports as his mummies (none at all!), I wholly support the campaign in terms of teaching my son that not only are women equal, but they can be powerful too. I never ever want him to grow up thinking that he is better because he is male, that he has an advantage in the world, in sport, at work, solely because of his genitalia. I want him to have as much respect for women as he would for his mothers, and that includes respecting people for their own individual achievements, whether that's winning the next Olympic Gold medal or just simply not being afraid to put on their running shoes and go for a run for ten minutes each morning.

I would be lying if I said This Girl Can has motivated me to try sports! I've tried them, it's not for me. But I hope it inspires others. And I hope, more than that, that it inspires a confidence in them to believe that they can, however big or small their goal is, they can achieve it. Campaigns like this inspire us all to support each other and celebrate how beautiful, different and unique we all are, I wish we saw more!

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