Teams across St Mary’s University, Twickenham came together recently for Simmie Girls Can week to celebrate women’s sport and encourage more staff and students to get active.
Simmie Girls Can is annual campaign run by Sport St Mary’s, which aims to celebrate female participation in sport and physical activity, create additional opportunities for students and staff to be active, and help motivate people to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
This year’s celebration was the biggest ever with plenty of events taking place in collaboration with teams across the University, including the Women’s Network, the UK:ME society, and range of student sports clubs. Sporting events included a women’s rugby sevens tournament, funded by the English Rugby Football Union, a Soul Walk, a screening of the film Transindia, and a futsal tournament, amongst much more.
SU Sports President Tayla Nisbet said of Simmie Girls Can, “This year has been very successful and given a great opportunity for our sports leaders to take initiative to run events. All of our events have been well attended by both students and staff who have shown their support for the campaign”
The University also hosted Female Health 101, which saw academics Mel Healy and Dr Nicola Brown host a special seminar to share their expertise on the menopause and breast health to staff and students across the University. With attendees in person and on-line, this event provided a platform to dispel some of the myths surrounding women’s health and empower women to celebrate their bodies at every stage of life.
Dr Maria Mellins hosted 5 in 5, a session to bring together staff from across the University to share their research. The sessions covered a diverse range of topics including the impact of covid on bra wearing, perceptions of the menopause, managing menstrual cycle symptoms in sport, misogyny on the internet, and responding to stalking, sexual violence, and abuse amongst young people.
Dr Nicola Brown, co-chair of the Women’s Network said, “This year’s International Women’s Day theme was Break the Bias. Gender bias and gender stereotypes are so deeply entrenched in our culture that we can’t break the bias in just one day. It takes a sustained commitment. We aimed to use IWD as a platform to celebrate women, raise awareness of issues impacting women, and act as a catalyst for positive change. We were delighted that so many staff engaged with the events that took place over the course of the week.”
Sports Participation & Volunteer Officer Simon Jackson said, “Simmie Girls Can is a major event in the student’s calendar that highlight female participation in sport, our aim for the event is to provide students and staff the chance to attend various different workshops and sporting events that they may not usually attend, with the end goal of providing opportunities to be healthier and active through sport.”