This Girl Can

This week marks the start of the annual This Girl Can campaign, a week usually filled with a wide range of fantastic events run by both Royal Holloway Sport and our student groups.

2020 once again brings us the challenge of how to replicate this week effectively in a new virtual setting. But I don’t believe the Royal Holloway community are likely to shy away from a challenge, so let’s smash this week like we would any other year!

This year is also an incredibly meaningful year to promote This Girl Can because your Sabbatical Officers are all female and we all come from varying sporting backgrounds. We want to lead the way this year in celebrating women getting active.

What is This Girl Can?

Funded by The National Lottery, the campaign launched in 2015 promoting that there is no “right” way to get active. It celebrates active women getting involved no matter how they do it, how they look, or even how sweaty they get!

This Girl Can explained:

Women come in all shapes and sizes with a range of abilities and from all backgrounds. Some of us are expert sportswomen, some of us are a bit rubbish. It doesn’t matter. We’re just happy that you’re getting active!

Our research shows that many women are put off taking part in physical activity due to a fear of judgement – this might be about the way they look when they exercise, that they’re not good enough to join in or they should be spending more time on their families, studies or other priorities.

This Girl Can seeks to tell the real stories of women who get active or play sport in the way that’s right for them, using images that show what activity really looks like in all its sweaty, red-faced, jiggly glory. We never judge and we don’t care what other people think.

What is going on this week?

Entry-level activity

If you are new to sport/physical activity, that doesn’t mean you cannot get involved! Royal Holloway Sport are using the Moves+ app to run challenges that are accessible to any level of experience. Simply join Moves+ and sign up to the This Girl Can challenge to walk 5000 steps, run 1.5 miles, or cycle three miles each day for a week.

Profiles

Each day of the week, we will be posting a profile of each of our Sabbatical Officers and a couple of our student leaders, as they explain what This Girl Can means to them and how they like to stay active.

Blogs

On Wednesday, Henn Warwick, VP Wellbeing & Diversity, will be releasing a blog around body image and body positivity.

On Friday, I will be posting a round-up of this week, highlighting the profiles we have shared and activities everyone has got involved in. If you are running an activity, either as an individual or as a student group leader, please let me know and I will try to showcase as much as possible!

Challenges

Over the week, I will be sharing some examples of different activities that you could try to get involved in. The other Sabbatical Officers and I will also be completing a challenge on Tuesday and Thursday – stay tuned to find out what we get up to and how you can join in!

To get you in the mood for a hugely successful and empowering week, here is the official Rallying Cry of This Girl Can:

It’s 2020.
Why am I still being told how
I should be?

Why should I have to question
how my body occupies space
Whether I’m seen for my age
(if I’m seen at all)
And why I still hide tampons up
my sleeve as I dash to the toilet?
Why should the “who” I am
be dictated by what I look like,
By my muscles, limbs, abilities,
Or by my size and shape?

I ask because it impacts
how I move in the world
The places I feel free to go
The states I let people see me in
The sport I decide to play
And the challenges I make my own.

So in 2020,
I will not apologise for being loud
For being fat
Or soft
Or bony, sweaty, delicate
or out of shape.

I will not apologise for being good
For being muscular or lean or
“out of place.”
I will not apologise for being messy,
For sweating through my shirt
or bleeding through my pants,
And I will not apologise for
pausing when I need to –
Taking a breath
Taking stock of how I feel
Taking things at my own pace.

Because it’s 2020, and we can be
women however we want to be.

This body is mine,
and the one to
define what it can
do is me.