Newly-released VicHealth research suggests that during 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic, women’s physical activity levels were more severely impacted than men’s, with half of Victorian women exercising less than before Coronavirus and 3 in 4 women stopping sport.
To provide greater support for women to return to exercise or try something for the first time, VicHealth is launching This Girl Can Week (22-28 March 2021), with a range of accessible and fun activities – both in person around Victoria and online.
According to a new VicHealth survey of over 1500 Victorian women, a major challenge faced when exercising during 2020 was juggling home schooling and being able to prioritise exercise.
That said, of the 59% of women who exercised at home during the pandemic, around 57% used online exercise programs to stay active, with respondents saying they felt less judged at home and it gave them a sense of structure and improved mental wellbeing.
This Girl Can Week will see a range of free online and in person activities across the state, based on the learnings and insights provided by this latest research. One example, is a new statewide This Girl Can hub, at Melbourne’s Fed Square where in-person and livestreamed and pre-recorded classes will be held throughout the week.
VicHealth’s Head of This Girl Can – Victoria Melanie Fineberg said This Girl Can Week is the perfect opportunity for women who’ve taken a break from exercise during Coronavirus to get back into it.
“Research has shown us that women’s physical activity has been more severely impacted than men’s due to Coronavirus, with more women exercising less, being inactive and stopping their involvement in sport altogether,” Ms Fineberg said.
“Women have told us that the increased juggle of home schooling during Coronavirus had an impact on their ability and motivation to prioritise exercise, so we’re here to help.
“We want women to know it’s common to take a break from a sport or other type of activity, and it is completely understandable during a pandemic. There’s no judgement if you haven’t exercised in a while, all that matters is that you give it another go.
“This Girl Can Week is the perfect time to get back into physical activity, with a range of free, fun, non-judgemental activities offered across the state, both in person and streaming online. This Girl Can also has a huge range of free online home workout sessions which can be watched anytime at thisgirlcan.com.au.”
This Girl Can Week is part of the larger This Girl Can – Victoria campaign, which first launched in 2018 and has so far inspired hundreds of thousands of women to get active, right across the state.
Featuring everyday women from right across Victoria, the campaign features women getting active their own way. There are no models or actors, no Instagram influencers or elite athletes - just everyday women getting active however, wherever and whenever they choose.
In order to provide women with more inclusive opportunities to get active This Girl Can Week will be held across Victoria from 22-28 March 2021. Federation Square will host free activities on site and will also stream online classes. Women can find activities and events in their local area via thisgirlcan.com.au. Sports clubs, councils, gyms or community groups interested in hosting a This Girl Can Week activity are encouraged to register as a campaign supporter at thisgirlcan.com.au.
Media note: Local interviews and images available on request.
A new VicHealth survey of over 1500 women found:
- 2 out of 5 (39%) turned to exercising at home for the first time during the pandemic
- 19% of women who exercised at home said they hadn’t been active before
- Of women who exercised at home during the pandemic,around 57%used online exercise programs to stay active
- 40% of women who started exercising at home for the first time have continued to do so.
- Major barriers for women getting active at home included juggling childcare responsibilities and being able to prioritise their exercise.
VicHealth’s Coronavirus Victorian Wellbeing Impact Study of over 2000 Victorians found:
- 1 in 2 (47%) women were exercising less during restrictions than before the pandemic.
- In the second wave of the pandemic, 57% of Victorian women reported low motivation as the reason they decreased or stopped being active (compared with 43% of men).
- Women’s participation in sport was severely impeded with 3 out of 4 women stopping their involvement in sport altogether, whereas only 2 out of 4 men’s sport routines were impacted negatively.
- 67% of women reported they were primarily responsible for helping school aged children with remote learning compared with 24% of men.
- This Girl Can – Victoria inspired 1 in 7 women aged between 18-65 across the state to get active in 2020.
- 82% of women believed the campaign encouraged women to keep being active.
- More than half of Victorian women are not sufficiently active, participating in less than 30 minutes of physical activity on four or more days a week.
- 52% of Victorian women worry about being judged when exercising
About this Girl Can:
This Girl Can – Victoria is a six-year VicHealth campaign aiming to increase physical activity among Victorian women. It focuses on less active women and supports gender equality by challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes in sport and by celebrating women.
This Girl Can – Victoria is the local implementation of the original ‘This Girl Can’ campaign in England, which is owned and operated by the English Sports Council (Sport England). Sport England used National Lottery funding to create the This Girl Can campaign in 2015.
VicHealth is the first organisation in the world to license the campaign from Sport England. VicHealth is promoting This Girl Can – Victoria in partnership with a range of organisations and community groups across the state including high profile sporting codes, sporting clubs and charities.
Watch the 2021 This Girl Can – Victoria campaign.