Opinion piece by Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
First published in Sunraysia Daily, 18 May 2018
You’d think as the VicHealth CEO that I’d have no problem being physically active. But reality hit several years ago when I was afraid to do something that I’d always wanted to do – windsurfing.
I’d had lessons, bought the gear but when I got to the beach I couldn’t get out of the car. I was worried about what people would think and I stayed in the car for such a long time, trying to pluck up the courage to get out and give it a go.
In the end, I took a deep breath, got out of the car and I’m proud to say that now I love getting out on the water whenever I can.
According to VicHealth research, I’m no different to over half of Victorian women who worry about being judged when exercising. We worry more than men about how we look, being unfit and we find it hard to go back to exercise when we haven’t done it for a while – particularly after having kids. For more than 40 percent of us, these feelings are so strong it actually stops us from taking part in sport or exercise.
That’s why our new This Girl Can – Victoria campaign is so important and why it’s been resonating with so many women across the state. This Girl Can – Victoria is about empowering women to feel comfortable in their bodies and public spaces. It aims to motivate women to get active, no matter how they look, how good they are or how sweaty they get.
Our campaign features Victorian women getting active their way whether that’s rollerblading, walking, playing netball or hitting the gym. They’re not airbrushed Instagram models - but everyday women overcoming their fears and giving it a go, curves, jiggles, wrinkles and all.
This Girl Can – Victoria is about smashing those old-fashioned stereotypes and the fear stopping women from getting out there and giving it a go. It’s not about making women feel bad about not doing enough exercise. It’s about celebrating what they can do – even if it’s just a walk around the block or a few laps of the pool.
I hope that, like me, all Victorian women can overcome what’s stopping them from being physically active and join the growing numbers of women saying “This Girl Can!”
I hope local women get on board the campaign if they haven’t already at www.thisgirlcan.com.au
For confirmations call Rachel Murphy, VicHealth Senior Media Advisor on 0435 761 732 or email [email protected]