International Women’s Day 2019 #BalanceForBetter
This year the theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a societal issue. The pressure is now on for a gender-balanced boardroom, government, media and sports coverage.
Collective, bottom up and top down action and shared responsibility is the key to real and lasting change. International Women’s Day is such a significant moment each year, an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, political and sporting achievements of women – while also acting as a clear call to action for accelerating gender balance.
This Mum Runs is a community powered, purpose driven organisation with a vision that aims to redress the balance when it comes to women and sport; to empower women everywhere to be healthier and happier through community and running – with a particular focus on mobilising women who are completely inactive.
Here are some stats that might (should) shock you;
I don’t know how this makes you feel, but reading stats like this has the power to make me weep.
And yet, this is not a new conversation. It’s been like this as long as I can remember; I was the sporty kid at school 30 years ago but can remember how painful it was to watch friends who loved being active, not making the school sports teams and then slowly switching off from exercise completely. Many of them have spent the past 30 years completely inactive.
In more recent years, social media has added a myriad of pressures on women and girls who are persuaded that if you don’t look a certain way (ripped abs anyone?), don’t wear the right things, can’t (or don’t want to) ‘get faster’, then sport just isn’t for them.
Even the team behind the much lauded This Girl Can campaign admit that while the campaign changed attitudes, and women were inspired by the ‘real women’ shown in the campaign, the insight still shows that there “must be something about those women’s lives that is different to mine and enables them to exercise because I still don’t believe I can”.
Add the very real pressures on Mums of time and childcare and the impact of childbirth on their bodies and what chance have we got of actually changing things?
As it happens, we believe change is coming. And we believe that Mums are at the heart of it all.
Whilst on the surface we may appear to be just a “running group for Mums”, we are driving the narrative hard to change the decades long status quo for women everywhere, forever.
We’re proving that if exercise is about how it feels, and about how it makes you feel, then it really is for every women everywhere. And we’re using the power of community to make this a life long change for good.
Through the work we are doing – with hundreds of free runs led by specially trained volunteer Run Angels in cities across the UK and a thriving online community – we are positively impacting Mums lives: as well as the obvious physical benefits of regular exercise, we’re impacting on women’s mental health, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, increasing confidence, creating connected local communities and cascading healthy habits that affect the entire family.
The added bit of magic is that when Mums are active, their daughters are 80% more likely to be active too, so imagine the impact we can have on the horrendous statistics at the top of this article as a global community of active Mums?
What better way to celebrate the game changing work we are doing to #BalanceforBetter on International Womens Day, than a run in the Edinburgh hills and an interview with Mum and Ultra Runner, Jasmin Paris.
Jasmin recently took the world by storm when she won the infamous Montane Spine race – a brutal 268 mile, non-stop, winter mountain marathon that encompasses the entire Pennine Way.
Jasmin not only won the race, she beat the entire field of runners – both male and female. She was a day ahead of the first male competitor and broke the course record by a whopping 12 hours.
All this and she stopped at every checkpoint to breastfeed her daughter or express milk for her.
Just think about the epic-ness for a second….
What makes Jasmin most impressive to us is how she describes her relationship with running – a “hobby” – and why she gets up every day at 4am to run “because I love how it makes me feel”.
In our interview, we explore how she fits it all in, how she handled the post race questions about “beating all the men” and what her message is to women and girls who think “I can’t” when it comes to sport.
Grab a cuppa, get ready to be inspired and watch Jasmin’s interview We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.
If you want to join our 50,000 strong global community that is working towards real and lasting change, sign up for our weekly email
And if you’re keen to get more involved, want free community runs in your area, are a funder or brand that would like to work in partnership with TMR to accelerate our impact, you can contact Mel and the team
#thismumruns #IWD2019 #BalanceforBetter