This Girl Can is a movement of love, confidence, strength and femininity that is spreading across Victoria encouraging women to take the next step to better health.

Prompted by research from VicHealth, This Girl Can steers away from highlighting weight loss as a marker of health, instead focusing on the positivity of getting out, being social and being active.

The research, taken from a survey of 1,000 Victorian women, found that:

  • Two thirds of women are not motivated by stereotyped #fitspo (fitness inspiration) Instagram content
  • One third of women feel insecure about their bodies due to #fitspo Instagram content
  • 80 percent of women want to see women with a variety of body types in advertising
  • 90 percent of women who have interacted with This Girl Can have felt empowered
  • 52 percent of women feel judged when exercising
  • 41 percent of women are embarrassed to exercise in public spaces.

In its third year, the initiative has encouraged 400,000 Victorian ladies to be proud and confident enough to recognise their capabilities.

This Girl Can Ambassador, Kirsten Hausia, is a strong Badimaya Yamatji and African American woman.

Hausia has a strong connection to her Country, thanks to her mother’s strong teachings of culture.

Developing a love for early morning running after years of disliking sport, Hausia runs with a group of Indigenous women every week.

“I love working out with people … All the women I work out with, we are all Aboriginal. One person is a Mum, we’re all working young professionals,” she said.

“I love it, I know it can sound so cheesy, but it is the best thing ever. It is really good because we have our group chat and when we are going on walks or runs or even have brunch, we are so positive.”

“Our conversations are positive, we always flip it to the positive, and we always encourage each other.”

Hausia said the program’s reach runs deeper than what might be expected.

“VicHealth may not realise how impactful that is, because even though my mob is in WA, they’re over there sharing stuff. Some of the girls are from Bourke, some of the girls are Yorta Yorta – it’s so powerful and so great.”

In a world where celebrity bodies like Beyoncé’s and Kim Kardashian’s splash across our screens, it’s important for women to know that good health is more than physical.

“Overall health, I think [that’s something] we can be caught up with you know, ‘I want to be super strong and lift this many kilos’ or ‘I want to run this far and beat this time’ … I just want to feel good!”

“I know the difference in myself when I feel bad and when I feel sluggish, I don’t have energy. But also, I want to live long, and not live long miserably, I want to live long like those old fellas going on hikes.”

“I feel like with our mob we age quick, but things are changing, our old people are more active. But we need to push that change more so when it is our generation, the ones in our 30s, by the time we are 60 we are gonna be looking real good!”

Hausia passes on her advice, noting the power of sisterhood in health.

“Have a good strong sistahood. Keep your sistas and cousins tight. Support one another in their physical and mental health too, that’s really important. Be there for one another, that speaks volumes.

“And get out and move! Even if it is a walk, get out and do something!”

For more information, visit: www.thisgirlcan.com.au.

By Rachael Knowles

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, VicHealth has had to postpone This Girl Can Week, which was scheduled between March 23 and 29, until further notice.