Two women talk tips on mental and physical health

And what The Matildas have to do with it

It’s about finding what feels good for you

This Girl Can Week is a week where This Girl Can supporters provide free or low-cost opportunities for women to try new activities. And this year’s message is simple – it’s about moving in ways that work for you.  

You don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym. You could go for a walk around the block or kick a soccer ball with your kids in the park.  

All that matters is that you find a way to experience the joy of movement – for your physical and mental health.   

We asked two This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors how they find ways to feel good (and a bit about The Matildas) 

We spoke to This Girl Can ambassadors, Courtney and Miranda, about how movement helps them feel mentally and physically better, and the energy surrounding our favourite football (soccer) team. 

How the Matildas have changed things

Can you share with us what excites you the most about This Girl Can Week? Especially considering the momentum we’ve seen in women’s sports recently? 

Courtney: After seeing the trajectory of the stats in women’s sport absolutely going through the roof with media, knowing the Matildas final is the number one rated sporting event ever. My phone personally has been ringing since then. 

I don’t know how to bend it like Beckham, but I’m loving the energy I’m seeing off the back of the World Cup and the AFLW.  

For This Girl Can Week I’m hosting several Lawn Bowls events, which are encouraging people to bring a friend. So many of us who are involved in sport take the messaging or intention of a program for granted.

It can be easy to forget the social anxiety people experience when they are new to a gym – so encouraging people to come with someone else is key. 

How did it feel witnessing the nation rallying behind the Matildas? Can you tell us about the impact it had on you personally and on inspiring your daughter in sports? 

Miranda: I love that it’s normalising women’s sport. The magic of the Matildas was seen in our lounge rooms, in schools and in the community at large. One of the most heartening moments for me has been seeing boys playing football in the yard and calling each other the names of female players.  

Suddenly it seems like there’s an equal playing field and sport isn’t being segregated to a certain gender or a type of person. The progress in this space is super inspirational and super encouraging and it feels like my daughter will walk into a different world than we walked into. 

The juggle and balancing time apart from the kids with active time together

As a busy mum how do you find juggling the balance between looking after your beautiful daughter, Riley, and getting active?

Miranda: It’s hard, it’s very, very hard. I’m really lucky to have a supportive husband who understands my commitment to Roller Derby. Outside of that I think making it non-negotiable is important because it’s like self-care – for me, it’s a place where I don’t have to be anyone else – I’m not a mum, I’m not a partner, I’m not in my day job – I’m just me.

The other part to it, is about doing things together. Riley has got to the level where we can put our skates on and really slowly head down the path together. So, it’s quality time and getting all the physical and mental health benefits that come from doing exercise.  

If you look at top level Roller Derby, it’s a high impact, quite athletic sport and it takes six to nine months before you’re allowed to play at that level but it can be intimidating if you don’t know that training starts with teaching you how to stop and fall and how you’ve got to celebrate your successes along the way. It’s also a sport that’s about not comparing yourself to others and we focus a lot on that message and coaching because we know that first step is the hardest barrier to overcome. 

How the workplace can make a difference

What are your top tips for women who are struggling to fit exercise into their day? 

Courtney: I think if the workplace can become accommodating with incorporating exercise into the workday – that’s huge. One thing we’ve been doing is taking virtual meetings on a walk, the person whoever is chairing will stay at home so they aren’t navigating footpaths while trying to take notes but everyone else in the meeting will go for a walk, even if it’s just the first twenty minutes. This means people don’t then have to find that time which can be hard when you have to commute home, cook dinner and do all your other life tasks.  
The other suggestions are the small bits of movement you can incorporate into your daily routine, things like: 

  1. Parking 500 metres away when you go to the shops (that adds a 1km walk to your day without trying) 
  1. Or walking to the café further away when you get your morning coffee 

If you just do that little something it makes you feel so much mentally better.

This Girl Can Week

This Girl Can Week is about doing things that will make you feel good. It’s about giving something new a go or adding that extra little bit of movement into your week and of course, celebrating your wins along the way. As Courtney and Miranda have shown, carving out time for movement is important. Because, when you feel good, people in your life benefit from it too!  

Find a This Girl Can Week event near you

Roller Derby is my self-care routine

“There’s a lot of guilt, I suppose, associated for taking time for ourselves. Self-care is such a buzzword at the moment, but that’s what roller derby is for me”

Meet Miranda. Mum of Riley.

Miranda is a computer programmer by day and a keen roller derby player on weekends and weeknights.  For Miranda, there’s nothing quite like roller derby. The sport takes all her focus so she can forget about the worries of everyday life and get in touch with her playful side. And the feeling of being in a room full of other women who are passionate and supportive keeps her going.  

Being able to take her kid, Riley, under her wing and share the joy of playing the sport has been an absolute joy for Miranda. Wearing matching uniforms, Riley is with her mum for all her bouts. She already joins in on the warmups on Sundays and wants to join the league when she turns 18! 

Roller derby helps Miranda reconnect with herself and balance her time spent between home, family, and work. “It really is a meditation on skates whilst bumping into people and you walk away reset. (…) [And] the family and your kids get the benefits.” Miranda shares.  

Hear more from Miranda here:

Keen to push yourself further, want to be more active, or just get started with an activity?  

Want to start at home in under 10 minutes?

  • Our Get Active @ Home page has loads of videos of different lengths so you can try what works well with everything else you’re juggling.

Looking for more inspiration first?

  • Meet other girls who are making waves in their physical activity, in their own way, and on their terms! 
  • Join the conversation on  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that encourages women to be active, get inspired, and share stories of being active! 

Running is my sanctuary

“It’s definitely time to put myself first because when I feel good, my kids benefit from that.” 

Jessica, from the Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta tribes, grew up in country Victoria and played sports growing up. Now, a mother of two, she reflects on how she put the exercise on the back burner for a while, until her friend encouraged her to apply for the Rob De Castella Indigenous Marathon Foundation project.

As one of 12 runners in the Marathon Project across the country, today, Jessica shares how she found ways to incorporate physical activity into her everyday life.  

“When I first started running after having [my younger son,] Wirin, he would cry, get upset. But after a few months, he realised it was normal that mum goes running. Now, when I go out the door, Wirin would like to come with me. He’ll jump in the jogger, and we head off up the road. And sometimes he stays in and sometimes he gets out and runs next to me.” 

This Girl Can ambassador Jess with her son walking next to her in COuntry Victoria. you can see Jess pushing a pram

Jessica feels “grounded and connected” when she runs and credits running as helping her get through a tough time in her life and making her a better mum. “when I get out amongst the trees, you know, out in the country, I just am able to ground myself.” And the camaraderie in her running group motivates her to keep going. “When you’re having a hard day and they give you that encouragement and say, come on, let’s do this, you’ll feel better. And you always do.” She says as she shares a laugh with her Heywood Deadlies running group.

Jess running with other friends from her Heywood Deadlies running group

Her idea of having a great time is playing basketball with her elder son Nason. “Being outside with Nason, sharing something that he loves to do and that I love to do as well, and we get to enjoy that together.”  

Hear from Jessica here:

Keen to push yourself further, want to be more active, or just get started with an activity?  

Want to start at home in under 10 minutes?

  • Our Get Active @ Home page has loads of videos of different lengths so you can try what works well with everything else you’re juggling.

Looking for more inspiration first?

  • Meet other girls who are making waves in their physical activity, in their own way, and on their terms! 
  • Join the conversation on  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that encourages women to be active, get inspired, and share stories of being active! 

This Girl Can Week 2023 – join us this spring and get moving!

We’re celebrating and supporting everyday women to get active in ways that suit them. Whether it’s with friends, family or solo, head out this spring and get moving for your own enjoyment.

Join in the activities during This Girl Can Week, from 9 – 15 October 2023. Featuring a stack of fun, free (or low-cost) activities designed to welcome beginners, and those who are curious enough to try something new.

Ways to engage in the campaign

Check out Our Supporters – physical activity providers, clubs, gyms, facilities, and organisations who will offer fun, beginner friendly and come-and-try events through the week and beyond.

Become a supporter and help promote This Girl Can Week in your community.

Keep an eye on our events page for the list of activities happening around Victoria.

Or, if you’re keen to get moving now, check out these Get active @ home activities you can access and activate anywhere, anytime!

Looking for more inspo?

Hear from our This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors’ stories on how they got into different kinds of sports to get active and feel good.

And join our This Girl Can – Victoria community via social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  


Reach out to us at

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria campaign here.

Spring into This Girl Can Week 2022

We’re coming out of winter and connecting in a safe way.

Whether it’s with friends, family, or a dedicated group of people, let’s get outside and be active.

Whether it’s walking, hiking, cycling, or chasing the kids around the park, there’s a fun way that you can get active this Spring.

Click here to see a list of events that are happening around Victoria.

Our Supporters made of physical activity providers, clubs, gyms, facilities, and organisations will offer fun, beginner friendly and come-and-try events through the week.

Walk through their doors and try news ways to get active!

Or check out these Get active @ home activities that you can access and activate anywhere, anytime!

Looking for some inspo?

Check out our This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors’ stories on how they got into different kinds of sports to get active and feel good.

And join our This Girl Can – Victoria community via social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Want to support more women get active?

Sign up to be a campaign supporter today and access FREE resources to engage more women in a physical activity.

Questions? Reach out to us at

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria campaign here.


This Girl Can Week 2022

Moving to Monday 12 to Sunday 18 September 2022.

This Girl Can Week is back for 2022 with a fresh new spin – This Girl Can Week is moving to Spring which means more time to plan for organisations and warmer days to enjoy activities for those participating.

So please mark Monday 12 September – Sunday 18 September 2022 in your calendar for This Girl Can Week 2022.

For campaign supporters:

We’re so excited to support you in encouraging more Victorian women to be active this Spring. We’ll be updating our This Girl Can – Victoria resources in the Supporters Hub shortly and will let you know when they’re ready for you to download and use.

Stay tuned for more details, we’ll be back in touch with more details.

Want to get involved?

Does your organisation want to get involved? Sign up as a This Girl Can – Victoria supporter to access resources.

Want to join the fun?

Keep an eye on our Facebook for updates on This Girl Can Week and how you can get involved and get active this Spring!

This Girl Can inspires record number of women to move more

Now in its 4th year, a post-campaign survey by La Trobe University shows the campaign supported around 1 in 6 women aged 18 to 65 in Victoria to move their bodies through inspirational videos and free and inclusive online workouts.  

Despite the challenges of 2021, more than 340,000 women across Victoria have been inspired to get active and stay active as a result of VicHealth’s This Girl Can – Victoria campaign, making it the campaign’s most successful year yet1

What’s even more impressive, 8 in 10 (81%) of the women who got active after seeing the campaign, were still keeping active 4 months later2

Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said: “The This Girl Can campaign is empowering women to be active and breaking down outdated stereotypes of what they can or can’t achieve in the gym, on the sporting fields, in our neighbourhoods and in the great outdoors. 

“This is about leveling the playing field and enabling more women to prioritise their own health and well-being, embracing physical activity that suits them in supportive and welcoming environments.”  

The La Trobe University survey found that the women who did something active as a result of This Girl Can – Victoria in 2021 enjoyed a range of health benefits, including:  

  • 2 in 5 (40%) reported improved general wellbeing 
  • 1 in 4 (26%) experienced better physical wellbeing, and  
  • 1 in 5 (22%) felt a better sense of mental wellbeing.  

VicHealth’s Head of This Girl Can – Victoria, Melanie Fineberg, said we must support women to be active in ways that feel good and suit them. 

“It’s so great to see that so many women across Victoria are making their physical and mental wellbeing a priority this year, despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. And we’re excited that the This Girl Can – Victoria campaign could support them on their journey,” Ms Fineberg said. 

“Women have had to juggle so much yet again, from home schooling and parenting to work, study and other commitments. Physical activity and movement have positive impacts on mental wellbeing, so it’s more important than ever for all of us to support women to keep active in any way they can.” 

Justine’s story – inspired to move more

Justine Streager, 32 from Keysborough in Melbourne, says This Girl Can – Victoria has inspired her to get active and connect with other active women, while juggling motherhood, working from home and the many other challenges of life in 2021. 

“I really resonate with the messaging of This Girl Can, because it’s all about just getting out and giving it a go without fear of judgement,” Justine says. 

“Worrying about what others think is something that has plagued my mind. Surrounding myself with the messaging of This Girl Can, and getting involved with activities that align with this messaging, made me feel safe to try lots of different activities.” 

In 2020-21, Justine tried online group training with a diverse personal trainer and couch to 5km using the NHS CHOICES UK podcast. When restrictions allowed, she also tried hiking with Escaping Your Comfort Zone, which she’s now a leader for, and GO Soccer Mums

“I’ve documented my experiences on Instagram and I love being encouraged by This Girl Can and others, and also seeing others doing the same as me, just giving it their best. I love making social connections and supporting and uplifting others in their fitness goals too,” Justine said.  

“I’m no longer sitting on the sidelines and am no longer isolated. I have community and that feels big.”  

Women of all ages and abilities can get involved in This Girl Can – Victoria by checking out the beginner-friendly workouts at This Girl Can Get Active @ Home, joining the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or following the #ThisGirlCanVIC.  

For more tips and inspo, visit  

This Girl Can Week: supporting Victorian women to be active again after COVID

Newly-released VicHealth research suggests that during 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic, women’s physical activity levels were more severely impacted than men’s, with half of Victorian women exercising less than before Coronavirus and 3 in 4 women stopping sport.

To provide greater support for women to return to exercise or try something for the first time, VicHealth is launching This Girl Can Week (22-28 March 2021), with a range of accessible and fun activities – both in person around Victoria and online.

According to a new VicHealth survey of over 1500 Victorian women, a major challenge faced when exercising during 2020 was juggling home schooling and being able to prioritise exercise.

That said, of the 59% of women who exercised at home during the pandemic, around 57% used online exercise programs to stay active, with respondents saying they felt less judged at home and it gave them a sense of structure and improved mental wellbeing.

This Girl Can Week will see a range of free online and in person activities across the state, based on the learnings and insights provided by this latest research. One example, is a new statewide This Girl Can hub, at Melbourne’s Fed Square where in-person and livestreamed and pre-recorded classes will be held throughout the week.

VicHealth’s Head of This Girl Can – Victoria Melanie Fineberg said This Girl Can Week is the perfect opportunity for women who’ve taken a break from exercise during Coronavirus to get back into it.

“Research has shown us that women’s physical activity has been more severely impacted than men’s due to Coronavirus, with more women exercising less, being inactive and stopping their involvement in sport altogether,” Ms Fineberg said.

“Women have told us that the increased juggle of home schooling during coronavirus had an impact on their ability and motivation to prioritise exercise, so we’re here to help.  

“We want women to know it’s common to take a break from a sport or other type of activity, and it is completely understandable during a pandemic. There’s no judgement if you haven’t exercised in a while, all that matters is that you give it another go.

“This Girl Can Week is the perfect time to get back into physical activity, with a range of free, fun, non-judgemental activities offered across the state, both in person and streaming online. This Girl Can also has a huge range of free online home workout sessions which can be watched anytime at”

This Girl Can Week is part of the larger This Girl Can – Victoria campaign, which first launched in 2018 and has so far inspired hundreds of thousands of women to get active, right across the state.

Featuring everyday women from right across Victoria, the campaign features women getting active their own way. There are no models or actors, no Instagram influencers or elite athletes – just everyday women getting active however, wherever and whenever they choose.

Victorian women are encouraged to join the This Girl Can movement by heading to and joining the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the #ThisGirlCanVic.

In order to provide women with more inclusive opportunities to get active This Girl Can Week will be held across Victoria from 22-28 March 2021. Federation Square will host free activities on site and will also stream online classes. Women can find activities and events in their local area via Sports clubs, councils, gyms or community groups interested in hosting a This Girl Can Week activity are encouraged to register as a campaign supporter at


Media note: Local interviews and images available on request.

Key stats:

A new VicHealth survey of over 1500 women found:

  • 2 out of 5 (39%) turned to exercising at home for the first time during the pandemic
  • 19% of women who exercised at home said they hadn’t been active before
  • Of women who exercised at home during the pandemic, around 57% used online exercise programs to stay active
  • 40% of women who started exercising at home for the first time have continued to do so. 
  • Major barriers for women getting active at home included juggling childcare responsibilities and being able to prioritise their exercise.

VicHealth’s Coronavirus Victorian Wellbeing Impact Study of over 2000 Victorians found:

Campaign research:

About this Girl Can:

This Girl Can – Victoria is a six-year VicHealth campaign aiming to increase physical activity among Victorian women. It focuses on less active women and supports gender equality by challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes in sport and by celebrating women.

This Girl Can – Victoria is the local implementation of the original ‘This Girl Can’ campaign in England, which is owned and operated by the English Sports Council (Sport England). Sport England used National Lottery funding to create the This Girl Can campaign in 2015.

VicHealth is the first organisation in the world to license the campaign from Sport England. VicHealth is promoting This Girl Can – Victoria in partnership with a range of organisations and community groups across the state including high profile sporting codes, sporting clubs and charities.

Watch the 2021 This Girl Can – Victoria campaign.

This Girl Can Week 2021

22 to 28 March 2021 

This Girl Can Week is back! ​

With gyms, physical activity providers and studios offering beginner-friendly activities and virtual classes across Victoria, this is the perfect time to try something new or get back into an activity you love!

Find activities and classes near you
Try an online workout here​

Host an event

Host a free introductory session at your club, centre or studio or online during This Girl Can Week (22 to 28 March 2021) to encourage women in your community to give your activity a go!​

  • Download the 2021 Supporter Toolkit from the Supporter Hub (includes NEW tips to maximise your Facebook event for This Girl Can Week on pages 20-21)​
  • Plan your event* Think about activities you can offer online, as well as face-to-face. ​
  • Create a Facebook event listing and add us as ‘co-host’ (please note we will not have website listings in 2021 so Facebook is the key listing!).​
    (Please note we will not have website listings in 2021). ​

*All physical activity providers should check the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website for the most up to date COVIDSafe guidelines for your sport or recreational activity and in your local area. Please ensure you have an updated COVIDSafe Plan. 

How coronavirus changed our connection to exercise

These everyday Victorian women told us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’re looking forward to now restrictions are easing

While stay-at-home restrictions were in place, we asked what our This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors were doing to stay active at home.

Now that they’re easing, we asked them about their experience with exercise and physical activity throughout the restrictions.

What they told us was that connecting with others is a big part of getting the physical activity they need to feel good.

What worked during restrictions

Connecting online:

  • “Doing an activity like Bollywood dancing with others via Zoom was amazingly uplifting and I felt connected to people,” said Jagriti.
  • Melinda found: “Virtual marathons kept me motivated and moving”.
  • Angela also connected to virtual group activities: “We would all commit to a 5km walk/run/cycle every Saturday and we’d post our photos to share where we had been,” she said.

“We set up the family room and called it the gym. Had fun confusing my hubby by saying we were going to the gym,” said Sue.

  • Sue followed a home fitness program with her daughter: “Having someone to workout with at home kept me motivated,” she said.

Connecting with the local neighbourhood:

  • “Walking with one friend at a time has been an amazing way to reconnect with people I love and just talk and walk,” said Sindi, “we are all usually so busy doing other things together that we don’t get the real conversation very often”.
  • “I set a goal of walking a marathon a week,” said Courtney, “friends who lived close by joined in. We then connected this with a fundraiser virtual walk”.
  • “Restrictions meant shorter rides close to home, however I developed a hack for that. I rode every street in my suburb, and the few surrounding suburbs. Despite a boundary of about 3km square I was able to clock up over 50km just riding in the local streets. The neighbourhood thought I’d gone totally nuts as I rode up and back and round and round,” said Tina.

“I rode every street in my suburb, and the few surrounding suburbs… the neighbourhood thought I’d gone totally nuts,” said Tina.

Knowing that connecting with your body helps you feel good:

  • What worked? “Getting started and actually doing the activity,” said Jagriti, “especially walking and getting some much-needed fresh air. Felt like heaven during lockdown!”
  • “Incorporating more yoga and body weight exercises,” said Tracy, “I will definitely continue doing both of these!”
  • “At the heart of it I think it’s all about This Girl Can,” said Natasha, “as in literally what CAN I actually do inside? Can I walk around the house? Can I go up and down the stairs? Can I put on some music and dance?”

What didn’t work during restrictions

Not having structure and support:

“I struggled. I prefer a team environment… I do better with fixed times, expectations and people,” said Marnie.

  • “I struggled. I prefer a team environment. I’m not good at motivating myself. Also, as a teacher, I was working crazy hours and was so mentally exhausted. Exercise would have been a good solution, but it was often dark or I didn’t make the time. When I worked from home, I would force myself to walk my dogs. That helped…My biggest issue? Not getting my heart rate up and having a consistent schedule. I do better with fixed times, expectations and people,” said Marnie.
  • “I missed the support and accountability of my team,” said Melinda.
  • “I wanted to add more walking but it never happened!” said Sue, “I also wanted to do some online yoga but did a couple of sessions only. I discovered I need to commit to a class time to get things done.”
  • “Using weights at home didn’t work for me,” said Sindi, “cats got in the way often and the bench I was using was slightly too short and I strained my back a little then quit until I can get back to the gym.”

Being hard on yourself (kindness is essential):

  • Angela found that when she wasn’t getting the incidental exercise she was used to before restrictions, “it started to make me feel tired and lethargic. It also made me be quite cruel to myself, and that inner negative voice started to take over. I decided to try to be kinder to myself and replace any negative thought with a positive thought instead. I stopped being so regimental with my exercise and instead decided to be kind. I gave myself the freedom to do what I felt like when I had the time. My life juggling work, kids and online schooling got pretty hectic sometimes so this seemed to work well.”

“I stopped being so regimental with my exercise and instead decided to be kind,” said Angela

  • “At the beginning of isolation I was very motivated so I began doing online workout videos and it was great. Got my heart rate up and really sweaty,” said Dinasha. More recently, she has been busy with her studies, and given herself permission to take it easy: “I’ve sort of taken a step back from working out just allowing myself to be a little lazy. Definitely will be getting back into it though with starting those online workouts and going for walks regularly.”
  • “I come in from a flexible approach,” said Natasha, “if your body really doesn’t want to do the burpee, listen to it and don’t, think about what else your body can/want to do.”

What to look forward to now restrictions are easing

Reconnecting with people, team mates and face-to-face classes:

  • “Getting back to reformer Pilates when the gym reopens. I usually do 3-4 classes a week as I find it helps with my lower back and hip strength reducing chronic lower back pain,” said Sue.
  • “Playing cricket, going swimming and attending fitness classes,” said Dinasha.
  • “Getting back out on the field with my friends and team mates!” said Tracy.
  • “I think everyone is dying to hold a kettlebell haha,” said Natasha.
  • “Dance is back,” said Sindi.
  • “Playing team sports again – touch footy!” said Melinda.
  • “Getting back to cricket training when I can. I miss having a laugh with teammates. I’m also hoping Parkrun might open again soon. In the interim though, at least now I can go running with friends again which has been good for the soul,” said Angela.

Can you relate to what did and didn’t work for our ambassadors during coronavirus restrictions? How about what they’re looking forward to?

We hope you found this inspiring and comforting to hear from these everyday women who volunteered to share their story about getting active as our This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors.