UEA’s This Girl Can week took place on campus last week and, I must say, it was an amazing couple of days full of events and new experiences.

There are a lot of women who don’t feel comfortable participating in a sports team, or haven’t yet had the chance to try a sport. This Girl Can week allows women to experience doing different sports; it also motivates them, and reminds others, to be more active. Most importantly, it shows everyone how powerful women are!

Back in my first year, I remember going to a This Girl Can self defence class. I always loved doing sports, but that class was something I had never experienced before. And, even though I did not continue going to regular classes, I still talk about that one-hour session because it had a positive impact on me, and it introduced me to a different part of sports. I think that having a week like this is very important for female empowerment; it increases your self-confidence and shows you what you are capable of doing, while also having fun.

I wanted to ask members of different UEA sports teams what they think of This Girl Can week, and if they find it beneficial or not. Firstly, I asked Emma Hyde, member of the Women’s Rowing team, how she feels about this week in general. She responded by saying that ‘[T]here is definitely some girl power magic happening that week. I think it can be really beneficial; for me having a dedicated week of involving women in sports really solidifies womanhood for us and encourages us to try out for sports we would otherwise be too nervous to do at any other time of the year.’

Tabby Reuben, Lacrosse Women’s Vice-President, said that, ‘I think This Girl Can is a brilliant campaign to get women active. At university, joining a sports team can sometimes be a bit intimidating, so having extra sessions on to try and get more women involved in sport is great, as keeping active is really important for your overall wellbeing.’

Women’s Basketball also had a session on during the week. Some people think basketball is a sport for men or some are not that interested in it, which is why I asked the President, Giulia Corsetti Antonini, how the class went and if she was happy with the turnout.

She said, ‘[W]e had so much fun! The turnout was incredible. It was nice to see so many girls being interested in seeing what goes on in our club. There were many girls who had never played basketball before, which was really nice because we know that it didn’t stop them from giving it a try.’

When I asked her about her thoughts about the week in general, she said: ‘[A]s someone who has been playing sports my whole life, I do believe that it’s important to push girls to go out there and simply discover new things and passions!’

This Girl Can week is one of the most special weeks of the year, and as a woman I am proud to see so many people interested in trying out different sports. Events like this send out a message to everyone, which says that women are also a part of the sports industry, as equal as men, and they can do anything they want to!

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