Celebrations, challenges & change: Active Oxfordshire marks International Women's Day
Posted: Sun, 07 Mar 2021 17:44
How we Choose to Challenge at Active Oxfordshire:
Challenging expectations - Stephanie
I'm challenging the cultural expectation to 'get your body back' as soon as possible after giving birth.
As someone who has given birth in the last 12 months, I have felt the pressure to get back in shape as quickly as possible. Comparing myself with other friends who gave birth around the same time was and still is a challenge for me. What I have come to realise and accept though is we are all different.
My first birth was emergency c section resulting in me hardly being able to move for the first 4 weeks. Now, following my second birth and after 6 months of physio and very little exercise, I have just started Couch to 5k. I know I'm not fit, definitely not as fast or strong as I was and still have flabby bits here and there, but I am ok with that. I have two lovely healthy children that I brought into this world and I am extremely proud of that.
I have goals for my fitness going forwards, but for now, let's celebrate the little wins!
Challenging perceptions - Caroline:
I'm challenging people's perception of physical activity for older women.
It doesn't have to be gentle exercise (although that's absolutely fine, any movement is fantastic) but we can do so much more if we choose. I'm training for a half Ironman, a long distance swim and back to back triathlons at Blenheim Tri and sharing my journey. I love it when people say 'If Caroline can do that, then so can I' because they really can: I've never been athletic, carrying extra lbs and get scared (often!).
Let's see more positive images of active older women out there!
Championing the role of girls & women in activity - Annie:
I've always been the exercise 'geek' in my family and with a background in sport, exercise and fitness I've always championed that passion, professionally and personally.
I have 4 granddaughters, so I am championing the role of young girls in any activity, and positively encouraging them to try anything – going even further beyond the traditional female sporting world. It doesn't matter what they do or don't physically achieve, it's more about how they as young females can feel empowered by being physically active.
I've been fortunate enough throughout my career to experience the 'thrill' of participating in competitive sport but in my earlier roles, I've had the even bigger thrill that coaching and leading females into getting active can bring me personally – because I can see how these females grow with confidence and self-fulfilment, as a result of standing up to be active.
So, I am proud of my personal family title of being called the activity 'geek' and if I can inspire my granddaughters to be physically active – competitively or non-competitively, I'll be proud of them and proud to be a female 'exercise geek.'
Celebrating achievements - Lucy Disley:
I celebrate being the only female within my secondary school's golf team. Showing that girls can do it too, this confidence boost allowed me to continue my journey through sport to where I am today, helping to create opportunities for other girls like me through their own physical activity journeys.
Challenging expectations, celebrating wins big and small - Helen:
I'm choosing to challenge expectations around what "achievement" means when it comes to being active, as a woman who started my cycling journey about 3 years ago as unfit as it gets! Rather than being about how fast or how far, for someone like me who can struggle hugely with anxiety, simply getting out of the house and cycling a mile down the road can be as big an achievement as smashing a personal best on a 50k sportive. But that first mile is the beginning of a journey to a happier, healthier life. So, I'm celebrating the "small wins" for all women out there who are taking their first steps – which of course are often the biggest ones of all.
Challenging for change - Lucy Tappin:
It's a sad fact that women are less active than men, and this gender gap starts with girls being less active from a very young age. There are even greater inequalities for lower income families, people with disabilities, Long Term Health Conditions and/or Mental Health Problems as well as ethnically diverse communities. I'm challenging us all to work together to change this and to create a fair and equal society for women to succeed….. a level playing field.
Active Oxfordshire is committed to creating a county where every women and girl can enjoy the benefits of an active life.