Posted: Wed, 08 Mar 2023 09:15
New county wide network launching on International Women's Day to support women in Wiltshire to be physically active, after Sport England reveals 2.4 million fewer women enjoy physical activity than men.
'She Can Be Active Wiltshire' is a brand-new county wide network developed to support women in Wiltshire and Swindon to overcome barriers to physical activity and be active together. The network, co-ordinated by Wiltshire and Swindon Sport, is launching on International Women's Day.
She Can Be Active Wiltshire has the long term aim of increasing women's participation in physical activity. The Chief Medical Officer recommends adults aged between 19-64 should take part in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. This can include daily activities which leave you slightly out of breath, not just organised physical activity/sport. Whilst over 60% of women in Wiltshire and Swindon take part in 150 minutes per week, around 25% are not active enough. The latest Active Lives Survey from Sport England shows 24% of women in Wiltshire, and 26% of women in Swindon do less than 30 minutes of activity per week.
Sport England highlight the importance of enjoyment in activity levels, after finding that 2.4 million fewer women than men strongly agree they find sport and exercise enjoyable and satisfying. Closing this 'enjoyment gap' is a key focus of their latest campaign 'This Girl Can With You', which launched on the 28th of February. This Girl Can With You builds on the work of their iconic 'This Girl Can' Campaign which has been challenging gender stereotypes and empowering women to get moving in whatever ways suit them since it's launch in 2015.
The latest phase of the campaign aims to support organisations to develop physical activity opportunities for women which are: social (helps women feel part of a community), suitable (meets women's needs), self-affirming (helps women feel confident), and safe (makes women feel physically and emotionally safe when taking part).
She Can Be Active Wiltshire adopts This Girl Can's approach locally, focusing on supporting physical activity providers to develop activities which reflect what women need to enjoy and take part in activity. The network will gather insight from local women to share with partners to develop greater understanding of women's experiences with physical activity and how they can be improved.
Dominique Oughton, Health and Wellbeing Manager from Wiltshire & Swindon Sport said:
"We are so excited to be launching She Can Be Active Wiltshire. This new project will focus on supporting women and girls across Wiltshire & Swindon to overcome barriers and become more active in a way that suits them, and most importantly that is fun! Women's health is a key focus area with our Health & Wellbeing Strategy for 2023-2025, and so working in partnership with This Girl Can we aim to help close the enjoyment gap and help women overcome barriers, working with partners to develop activities that are safe, social, suitable and self-affirming. We welcome everyone to come and get involved in this project, supporting women and girls to experience the many benefits that being active brings."
She Can Be Active Wiltshire will work alongside local networks created to provide safe spaces for women to share their experiences of physical activity. This collaborative approach will aim to close the enjoyment gap through understanding and challenging the practical and structural obstacles that make physical activity less welcoming for women. She Can Be Active Chippenham is the first of many local networks Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP) hope to establish.
A spokesperson for She Can Be Active Chippenham said:
"Women in Chippenham can initially join the network on Facebook and Instagram, with more opportunities to get involved - including in person - coming later in the year. Women will be able to talk about their positive and negative experiences in taking part in physical activity, which the networks can use to create opportunities to overcome these obstacles and help women improve their activity levels. It will also promote ways for women to get active both in Chippenham and online. The network outputs are driven by the women using it, so we encourage women to join and share their input as much as possible."
Women in Wiltshire are invited to be part of the county wide and Chippenham She Can Be Active Networks by following them on Facebook and Instagram:
She Can Be Active Wiltshire: Facebook / Instagram
She Can Be Active Chippenham: Facebook / Instagram
More information: She Can Be Active Wiltshire