Getting older women into sport with #thisgirlcan

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It’s fabulous to see that the reignited #thisgirlcan campaign from Sport England to get more women into sport is ready to go cross-generational.

Two woman over 60 features in the true life stories campaign. Catherine, 67, has joined a boot camp while Sue, also 67, has taken up cold water swimming.

The new campaign is covering a wider mix of sports and activities in recognition of the challenges of the barriers that come into play as women get older.

“This time around, we are allowed to be a bit bolder, by showing the lines and cellulite in a stronger way than we would have felt able to do last time,” campaign manager Kate Dale told Marketing Week.

She says: “Older women said they had strong connections to the campaign beforehand, but they spoke about the fear of being a beginner. At 46, you’re maybe a little bit less inclined to start something new, so that’s what we’re directly tackling. We want to normalise the beginner and highlight that exercise is not just about the physical benefits but also about personal development.”

The new campaign builds on the huge success of the original, which not only attracted huge attention in social media and over 1.2 million visitors to the website, but was also successful in changing behaviour. Sport England says that the This Girl Can campaign resulted in 2.8 million women getting more active.

It would be terrific if campaigns like this can go beyond encouraging older women to join in and try something new. These women need both the strength to test their bodies in a different way and the courage to be the oldest person in the room. If attitudes can change and other participants can learn to be more accepting and even welcoming, then progress can really be made.

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