Emime hopes to inspire others

Emine Cakir is a 'This Girl Can' ambassador. Picture: SUPPLIED.

VicHealth’s This Girl Can Week is back this Spring to empower women across Victoria to get active.

Held from 12 – 18 September, This Girl Can Week is a dedicated time for women to explore beginner-friendly classes and judgement-free activities in their local area.

Now in its fifth year, the This Girl Can – Victoria campaign aims to empower women to focus on how getting active feels instead of worrying what people think.

In 2021, This Girl Can – Victoria inspired almost 340,000 women to get active in their own way.

There are no models or actors, no Instagram influencers or elite athletes – just everyday women getting active however, wherever and whenever they choose.

Almost 80% of women want to see more women with a range of body shapes included in physical activity advertising

In 2019, Emine Cakir from Dandenong joined the Southeast United soccer club.

A Turkish immigrant who has lived in Australia since 2005, the club immersed her more in the community than she had ever previously felt.

“These are the everyday real stories that people can relate to,” she said.

“By seeing other people getting out and exercising, they can think ‘if she can, I can too’.

“I want to inspire other women to be active physically and have a go.”

Playing as a goalkeeper, she says the sport carries a deeper sense of meaning than the frequent losses they are subjected to.

“Playing soccer made me feel like I was doing something for myself – my physical and mental health was improving,” she said.

“It was a new experience and it was great to be part of a community that made me feel included and encouraged.”

One in five Victorian women currently do no physical activity. A fear of judgement is the greatest barrier to getting active, with 52% of Victorian women worrying about being judged while exercising.

VicHealth’s Head of This Girl Can – Victoria, Rebecca Ahern said This Girl Can Week is an opportunity for women to try something new or get back into getting active after Winter.

“We know that women are looking for ways to get out and about after Winter and enjoy the social aspects of getting active. This Girl Can Week will allow women the opportunity to connect and try this in new ways,” Ms Ahern said.

“There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved this Spring. From bite sized fitness classes, yoga, tai chi to Bollywood dance, come along in-person or online and join other women who know ‘This Girl Can’.

“It’s all about celebrating what women can do, whether that’s a walk around the block or a few laps of the pool,” she said.

As part of This Girl Can Week, Fed Square will be creating a safe and inclusive space for women to get active.

Activities include:

– spin classes with Bodhi and Ride boutique fitness studio

– Birrarung Marr Cultural River walks

– silent disco walks through Fed Square

– cello yoga

– queer-friendly dance classes.

Women can book in for these free sessions by visiting fedsquare.com/events/this-girl-can.

For activities across Victoria, women can visit thisgirlcan.com.au/events and the Facebook page at facebook.com/ThisGirlCanVIC to discover events in their local area.

Sports clubs, councils, gyms or community groups interested in hosting a This Girl Can Week activity are encouraged to register as a campaign supporter at thisgirlcan.com.au.