By HERMIONE WAY
It is a measure of how far we have come in smashing one of the most taboo topics in sport that the latest This Girl Can advert shows real-life images of women overcoming period pain or menopause symptoms to stay active.
Sport England launched their original campaign four years ago after research showed women were frightened of taking part in sport because they felt they were being judged on body image.
In that time, the ads have inspired 500,000 more women and girls to become more physically active.
The sad fact is that while things are getting better, Sport England reckon more than 50 per cent of still women pass up on an opportunity for exercise because they worry what others think about their bodies.
Social media is full of toned tanned influencers. However, according to the Sport England research just 18 per cent of women find then “relatable” while 24 per cent say they actually make them feel bad about themselves.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having sporting heroines such as Megan Rapinoe. But for the majority of us who take part in sport, Megan is the exception and not the norm.
For many, the challenges are more everyday – going out for a run with menstrual cramps or working out in the gym in the midst of a menopausal flush.
However, far from being a barrier to entry the adverts show how exercising during your period can be “bloody brilliant”. Hanna Johnson, 29, of Redbridge, Essex, appears saying that using physical exercise to manage cramps and headaches has been “incredibly empowering.”
Here at Sportside HQ, we support Sport England in shining a spotlight on issues women talk about in private but are rarely aired in public and certainly rarely on TV.
Hopefully, we can work together to ensure all women can take part in sport -without fear of being judged.