This Girl Can and parkrun team up to welcome even more women and girls to parkrun this International Women’s Day
Posted: Thu, 24 Feb 2022 12:24
For International Women's Day 2022, This Girl Can and parkrun have once again joined forces to encourage thousands more women and girls around the country to take part in a parkrun event on Saturday 5 March.
Hundreds of thousands of people each week take part in parkrun as walkers, joggers, runners, and volunteers, or just head down to their local park to watch and soak up the feel-good atmosphere.
In 2021, 2.4 million parkruns were completed by 440,000 women and girls across the globe. And, during the same year, almost 100,000 women and girls carried out just under half a million volunteer roles at parkrun events.
Despite these positive numbers there is work to be done to get as many women as men participating at parkrun. The female share of those completing the 5k at parkrun has fallen by around three points compared to pre-pandemic.
Women are also still less likely than men to actually come along to parkrun events, despite registering in greater numbers. Last year, women made up 51% of total registrations, but only accounted for 44% of completed parkruns.
Research from Sport England's latest Active Lives survey showed that men are still more active than women, with 62.3% of men active compared to 59.8% of women. This Girl Can research shows that women want to be active but face barriers such as a fear of judgement, or practical issues such as childcare obligations. The partnership aims to break down these barriers and inspire women to get active in a fun, supportive and non-judgemental environment.
parkruns are free, fun, sociable 5k community events taking place every weekend in public parks and open spaces across the globe. They are accessible to all, regardless of age, ability or background. There are more than 1000 parkruns every weekend in the UK and, on Saturday 5 March, parkrun and This Girl Can are encouraging as many women and girls as possible to come along to parkrun. Sign up for parkrun and find your nearest event here.
There are so many ways to join in at your local parkrun. It could be to walk, jog or run some or all of the course, undertake one of the many volunteer roles, join people in a local cafe for a coffee and a chat afterwards, or just come along to spectate. Many parkruns allow buggies and dogs, so it really is something that the whole family can get involved with. Children can take part from the age of four, under 11s just need to be within arm's reach of their responsible adult.
For anyone heading to parkrun for the first time, or those who might need a bit of reassurance, a friendly volunteer will be on hand to welcome newcomers, provide information about the event and answer any questions, or you can contact your local event team ahead of time.
Even if you come to parkrun alone, the chances are you will leave with a whole new group of friends, and a buzz that lasts for a long time after.
Chrissie Wellington, parkrun's Global Head of Health and Wellbeing, said:
"Insight, including that generated by Sport England, reveals stark gender differences in physical activity participation and overall health and wellbeing, and that these have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud that parkrun engages around 120,000 women and girls every single weekend across the world, but we also know that many still face barriers to taking part. These relate to fear of walking or running in public, not wanting to attend an event alone, not knowing what to expect or worries about not being fit enough.
We are working really hard, with partners like Sport England, to remove many of these barriers, and make parkrun as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, and IWD parkrun 2022 is an important part of these efforts. We really look forward to marking this important occasion, and using it as a platform to celebrate female participation at parkrun, and help us impact the lives of many more women and girls in the UK and around the world.
Kate Dale, This Girl Can campaign lead, said:
"Getting active for the first time or after a long gap can be daunting. That is why we're excited to encourage women and girls to get involved with parkrun to celebrate International Women's Day, break the bias and tackle the stubborn gender activity gap. This Girl Can breaks down the stereotypes of what women getting active should look like, and champions women and girls getting active in the ways that work for them - without worrying about how good they are or what other people think. Getting down to your local parkrun is a great way of putting the This Girl Can ethos into practice; it's fun, free and friendly, with women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities getting involved. So if you've been thinking about trying it out for the first time, want to come back or bring a friend along, International Women's Day parkrun is a great place to start getting active in a way that works for you."
On Saturday 5 March, parkrun and This Girl Can are encouraging all women and girls to come and join their local parkrun. parkruns are safe, inclusive and free from judgement. Those already parkrunning are encouraged to bring a female friend, colleague or family member along, and everyone is invited to join the celebration online at #IWDparkrun and #ThisGirlCan.
The International Women's Day parkrun will be supported by a targeted social media campaign to address and break down barriers faced by women and girls when accessing physical activity. The campaign will feature real life case studies from across the country who are available for comment. Through these examples, the campaign will help show that parkrun is for everyone, no matter your age, background, fitness level or gender. And although the IWD parkrun is being held on one day, it is hoped that the impact will be far more long lasting as people continue to reap the rewards of being active in a nurturing, welcoming, outdoor environment.