It’s been a great International Women’s Day weekend don’t you think? When it comes to celebrating and empowering women, I’m so here for it.
It feels like there’s a real movement of female empowerment happening at the moment, in sport, in business, in the media, and more. Even Barbie’s getting involved. We’re finding our voice, we’re rising up, we’re shrugging off the ‘should’s’ and we’re finally starting to give less f*cks about what people think of us.
We’re seeing more women lifting weights, more women thriving in business, more women nailing motherhood and telling it how it really is, more women deciding not to, and being absolutely fine with that.
We’re learning to love ourselves, however we’re made, embracing exactly who we are to be unapologetically us.
Empowering women with physical activity
I’m trying to contribute to this movement myself, focusing on fitness and sport.
I want to help more women and girls to feel the same empowerment I’ve felt through being active, particularly with cycling. Along with my colleagues, club mates and British Cycling volunteers, we’re working hard to close the gender gap in cycling both as leaders and participants.
One million more women on bikes
In a huge milestone in the quest to close the gender gap in cycling, this week British Cycling celebrates reaching its target of getting one million more women on bikes by 2020. The organisation launched its women’s strategy in 2013, setting out a vision to ‘inspire one million more women to ride, race and be part of British Cycling by 2020.’
Getting into racing
Today I contributed to that by taking part in my second circuit race having dipped my toes in the water over the last couple of years. What’s stopped me so far is probably what’s stopping a lot of women from having a go at racing: worrying about not being fit enough, and fear of coming last or getting dropped from the pack.
My first race was last weekend and all of those things happened but I BLOODY LOVED IT. I’ll write a proper post about my experience with racing at the end of this winter series but for now, here are the badass race babes I spent International Women’s Day racing with and being cheered by:
Joining a club has transformed my cycling and opened up a whole world of stuff I never knew existed: time trials (see below), circuit races, crit races, and more. We need more women to know about these events and sign up for them because if we don’t, there is no racing.
Find your local event on the British Cycling website, stay tuned for a full circuit race write up and catch up on my other #oneinamillion blog posts below:
Leading free women’s rides with Breeze
Outside of participation I’m proud to have contributed to British Cycling’s 2020 goal by leading free women’s Breeze bike rides with other Level 1 leaders. HSBC UK Breeze rides have contributed to getting over 275,000 women on wheels in the last few years, and there’s more where that came from.
We’re empowering women of all ages to get back on their bikes and gain confidence and be part of a supportive and friendly community, to reignite the passion for cycling they once felt as a child. Many of the women who ride with Breeze have had a long break from cycling or are just starting out, or wanting to find people to ride with at a pace that suits them.
These women-only rides welcome everyone and are a great way to get fit and explore new routes if you’re looking for traffic-free or quiet roads / off road adventures.
After school bike clubs with Sustrans
If you want to close the gender gap in cycling, you have to do it from the ground up.
So I’m proud to work with Sustrans to run two after school bike clubs for teenage girls in Brighton and Hove. After a successful first year at one school we’ve now launched a new club at a second school last week, helping the girls to learn new skills, have fun and gain confidence on the bike to take into later life.
The wonderful Cathy Wallace is my Bike Club buddy helping me to run them this year:
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?♀️?♀️ Excited to be seeing more of this one this year as we start up the Girls Bike Clubs again next week. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For the past year or so I've been working with @Sustrans to run an after school girl's bike club in #Hove, & this year @cathywallace_ is joining me to launch a new club at another school in #Brighton! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe ? to see what the girls wanted to learn at the 1st ever session at the start of the first club, & swipe again to see a photo from where they ended up: on an overnight #BikeItWild bivvy adventure up on the #SouthDowns ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Wonder what we can help the girls achieve this year! ?? . . . #thisgirlcan #oneinamillion #ridelikeagirl #womenscycling #bikeclub #girlswhocycle #womenwhocycle #getoutside
International Women’s Day parkrun with This Girl Can
Yesterday I took part in #IWDparkrun at my local event, pacing 36 minutes before our Breeze ride. This Girl Can partnered with parkrun for International Women’s Day to put on hundreds of events across the country and encourage more women to take part. The partnership has come about because out of the 1.8million women registered with parkrun, 650,000 are yet to do a parkrun.
Edit 11.3.20: The official figures have just been released: An astonishing 15,000 additional women and girls took part in #IWDparkrun across the world on International Women’s Day. I know more than 700 runners turn up at my local one too!
If you’re wondering what I’m on about, let me fill you in:
What is This Girl Can?
Created by Sport England in 2015, This Girl Can is a national campaign to help tackle the gender gap in sport and physical activity. It followed research from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey that showed 75% of women aged 14-40 wanted to exercise more but didn’t for fear of judgement.
We’ve all been there, right? I’m too fat, too slow, too this too that. Don’t know what I’m doing, everyone will laugh at me, what if I look stupid?
Well This Girl Can is all about breaking down those barriers, making movement accessible and showing women and girls that exercise doesn’t have to be boring, or a chore, or something you feel you have to do.
It can be fun! It can be something you fit into your everyday, whether five minutes or 50, wherever you are.
I’m proud to be This Girl Can Ambassador for Sussex with Active Sussex. ICYMI, you can catch up on all things This Girl Can on the blog.
What is parkrun?
For those not in the know, parkrun is a free, weekly timed 5km run every Saturday that takes place in more than 700 parks and public spaces in the UK. I say ‘run’ but really it’s whatever you want it to be: a run, a jog, a run-walk, a skip or a walk.
What it’s not is a race. What it definitely is: a supportive, inclusive community of runners, joggers, whatever you want to call us, coming together each week to move our bodies in The Great Outdoors and catch up over coffee afterwards.
Come rain or shine, I can guarantee there’ll be a parkrun on near you.
Here are the ones near me, in Brighton:
- Preston Park
- Hove Park
- East Brighton Park
- Hove Prom
- Bevendean Down
Bit further afield, but rideable if you fancy a brick sesh!
How do I sign up to parkrun and how does it work?
There’ll be a briefing at the start where you’ll get told how it works, shown the course, and how to get your barcode scanned at the end. You’ll then get your dose of rundorphins and afterwards get your time texted to you and a new favourite Saturday morning hobby to enjoy for free, forever. Winner!
Women I’m celebrating in Brighton for International Women’s Day
So before I sign out for International Women’s Day I just wanted to celebrate some kickass people doing awesome things for women in Brighton: empowering, inspiring and supporting the Brighton female army to be the best we can be:
Brighton Girl (City Girl Network)
Working in social media I’m a sucker for a community, whether online or in person. I’m a member of several Facebook groups for freelancers, fitness communities, cats and more, but one of the groups that’s really worth celebrating on International Women’s Day is Brighton Girl, part of the UK-wide City Girl Network.
Over 7000 female members make the Brighton Girl group the supportive and empowering information hub that it is, helping women all over the city find friends, flatmates, fun events, help and support in everything from DIY to dance classes.
If you’re in Brighton you can join the Brighton Girl group here.
Emma Croman: VALID
If ever there was an embodiment of This Girl Can’s latest message for women to be unapologetically us, it’s this incredible human being.
Emma Croman is a lifestyle and food photographer in Brighton and one of the many amazing new friends I’ve found at my Brighton co-working space. She’s just launched a really powerful photo project exploring feelings of validity in our physical selves, featuring personal stories exploring body image and acceptance in a world of stigma and judgement.
Visit iamvalid.org to see her beautiful portraits. I dare you not to nearly cry after reading her own story.
HEY GIRL Magazine
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People power ?? What an amazing day ??? to celebrate the eve of international women’s day the fabulous @kaylaloganblog setup an amazing empowering photo shoot day for all??❤️❤️ thanks lots for letting us come down ?? their is a real change in the air .. lots of women walking by were cheering in support???? lots of support ?? mega big up to all that took part and for @madison.isaacs taking great photos , this one I got right at the end @simonclemenger ❤️❤️✌️ from left to right @emilywgx , @kaylaloganblog , @binge.to.bopo , @nicole__moses , @lauracurvee , @kat_v_henry , @kateshappinessjourney , @justaplussizegirl , @je.ssicas , @charlotteamylouise #internationalwomensday #heygirlmagazine #empowerment #bodypositive #bodypositivemovement #positivemagazine #positivemedia #positivemediamovement #heygirltv #londonbridge #freedomtobeyou #youbyou
OK so not strictly a single woman or girl but instead a much-needed positive new media brand dedicated to empowering and celebrating women of all shapes, sizes, colours, interests and abilities.
This print magazine, website, radio and TV channel is headed up by another awesome photographer and co-working friend of mine, Simon Clemenger, HEY GIRL is breaking down barriers and shaking up toxic media to create a new normal.
Find out more about the brand and how you can become a shareholder from just £10 at heygirlmagazine.com.
Oh, and if you’re not quite done with celebrating women for IWD and are free on Saturday 14th March, get down to this awesome day-long conference on Kickass Women at my coworking space Platf9rm:
We can’t wait to celebrate another International Women’s Day with Kickass Women 2.0 on Saturday 14 March. Tickets include a day full of talks, workshops, lunch and pop ups, all exploring the International theme of #EachforEqual and looking at the Future of Womxnhood. https://platf9rm.link/kick-ass-women-2 We’ll be joined on the day by:Samantha Moyo, The Disruptor Doctor & Founder of Morning GloryvilleVic Miller, VP of Global Comms at BrandwatchEugenie Teasley, Head of Cities at UberSapphire Bates, Founder of The Coven Girl GangAlexandra Heminsley, Bestselling Author of Running Like A GirlStacey Lowman, Founder of Pachira MoneySimon Clemenger, HEY GIRL MagazineNatasha Richardson, Transformational Life CoachKoko Brown, Theatre Maker, Producer & Spoken Word ArtistAnne Boddington, Professor of Design & InnovationZazie Clarke, Network Manager at The Girls NetworkVicki Hughes, Managing Director, FUGU PRLara Sheldrake, Founder of Found & FlourishMariam Crichton, Non Executive Director of Wired SussexJane Cudworth, Label Manager at Mr. Bongo WorldwidePlus pop ups from Peacci, Papersmiths, The Feminist Bookshop and MoxiSee you there!
Posted by PLATF9RM on Monday, March 2, 2020