Social enterprise company, Totally Runable Ltd, are putting inspiring posters featuring real life female athletes in front of over 355,000 school pupils from as part of their ‘Role Models’ campaign.
Pre-Covid research showed that for every photograph of a woman playing sport in a national newspaper there were 33 photos of men playing sport. The project aims to redress that balance and close what Totally Runable Ltd call the ‘Gender Sport Gap’ in primary schools.
Totally Runable Ltd works with girls and female school staff building confidence in sport. World bronze medallist 800m runner Jenny Meadows is a Director of the company and spoke ahead of the campaign launch. “Our Role Models project is about putting awesome female role models aged 10-16 in front of girls and boys at primary school, because ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’. We’re celebrating the campaign launch by releasing a new season of our See Sporty Be Sporty podcast, speaking to inspiring female athletes about the importance of their own role models.
“This season features Hannah Cockroft, Bethany England, Laura Massaro, and Stacey Copeland, to name but a few. It’s so important that girls
are seeing other girls being sporty, so that they know what might be possible for them in their lives, and we’re really excited to be launching it this week.”
With funding from Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Persimmon Homes, and a successful crowdfunder fundraising campaign, the first round of posters is being sent to every primary school in West and South Yorkshire, as well as all 200 schools who are part of Totally Runable’s ‘Girls and Sport Pledge’.
Schools who are not yet part of the pledge can sign up free via Totally Runable’s website for free resources and guidance on how to measure and close their own Gender Sport Gap.
Totally Runable’s co-founder and podcast host Natalie Jackson said ahead of the launch: “The Gender Sport Gap at primary school is any difference between children identifying as girls and those identifying as boys in fitness, participation or confidence in PE, sport and physical activity. We know that boys will often run further than girls over a challenge run activity we do with them, and there is no physical reason for that to be the case at primary school age; it is entirely socialised.
This isn’t something created in schools, but if we aren’t doing something in schools to question stereotypes around physical activity, whether projects like this or our other intervention work, then we are part of perpetuating the problem. We know from Government research, backed up by our own, that girls as young as age 7 are less confident than boys in physical activity, and that’s not okay.”
Alex Ogden, PE and School Sport lead for Yorkshire Sport Foundation, added: “We are passionate about addressing inequalities and while campaigns like This Girl Can have made strides in closing the gender sports gap, there is still more to be done.
“This is a fantastic initiative from Totally Runable and one that we are proud to be supporting.”
The project is being supported by the University of Huddersfield, with a team of students designing resources for schools to use the posters creatively in lessons, as well as researching the Gender Sport Gap in local schools. Their initial research during lockdown found that over 94% of primary school staff felt that having more female role models would make a change in the confidence of girls.
Schools are being asked to share their inspiring stories about how they have used the posters with Totally Runable Ltd and the research team by tagging @TotallyRunable on social media or by emailing email@example.com.