Sport England has announced a major new partnership with VicHealth, a health and fitness body operated by the Australian state of Victoria.
The agreement will see Sport England's ‘This Girl Can’ campaign adopted by VicHealth with the aim of reducing the gender gap in sports and exercise participation in the region.
According to Sport England, the National Lottery-funded This Girl Can has helped contribute to reducing the gap between men and women involved in sport in England significantly, with 2.8 million more women thought to have taken up some form of exercise thanks to the campaign.
The partnership between Sport England and VicHealth will run for an initial three years, and will kick off its first stage with an advertising campaign featuring women from across Victoria telling stories about their involvement in sport. According to VicHealth research, 41 per cent of women over 25 in the state are too embarrassed to exercise in public, while one in five do no physical activity in a typical week and as many as three in five are "insufficiently active".
The second stage of the collaboration will take the form of a nationwide mass media campaign, covering television, online, radio, social and outdoor media advertising.
“The fear of judgment is a universal issue facing women the world over, and while This Girl Can has made a real difference since it launched by helping 2.8 million women get active, we want to take our campaign further," said Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England.
“Australian women face the same barriers to being active as English women – whether that’s worrying 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."
Jerril Rechter, VicHealth chief executive, added: "“Over the last few years there has been a shift in momentum, with more and more opportunities opening up for women and girls to take part in sport and physical activity. 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.
“We’ll be celebrating active Victorian women who are doing their thing no matter how they look, how well they do it, or how sweaty they get.”