The theme of the 2024 Pink Reign campaign launched by Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis to break down barriers to promote greater women and girls’ participation in sport is aligned with the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women and Sport.
The first international conference on women and sport was held in Brighton, UK, on May 5-8, 1994. The 6th International Women Group [IWG] World Conference on Women and Sport was held in Helsinki, Finland, June 12-15, 2014. The 2024 Pink Reign campaign combines various activities, including free fitness sessions, life skills workshops, martial arts sessions, dancing, the popular running challenge, and panel discussions titled You Go Girl.
The Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration aims for “governmental, non-governmental organisations and all those institutions involved in sport, physical education and physical activity to apply the Principles and Recommendations set out in this Declaration by developing appropriate policies, structures and mechanisms.”
• Mainstream the values and principles of equity and diversity into all international, regional, national, and local strategies for sport and physical activity;
• Ensure that all women and girls have the opportunity to participate in sports and physical activity in a safe and supportive environment that preserves the rights, dignity, and respect of the individual;
• Recognise the diversity of women’s and girls’ needs, especially those with disabilities through delivery of Article 30 of the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and those living and working in cultures and contexts which may be hostile to female participation and performance;
• increase and support the involvement of women in sports and physical activity at all levels and in all functions and roles;
• ensure that the knowledge, experiences, and values of women contribute to the development of sport and physical activity;
• promote the recognition of women’s and girls’ involvement in sport and physical activity as a contribution to public life, community development, and in building healthy nations;
• promote the recognition by women of the intrinsic value of sport and physical activity and their contributions to personal development and healthy lifestyles.
• increase cooperation between women and men and ensure the support of men to promote gender equality in sports and physical activity.
Minister Cudjoe-Lewis alluded to cultural and societal factors that have historically inhibited women and girls’ mass participation in sports and physical activity. A fitting example is the differential attitude of parents toward their son’s and daughters’ involvement in sports. The sons are generally encouraged, while the girls, even though they are encouraged, are constantly reminded about the importance of studying. Therefore, her observation that “girls are not born under-confident and.., not born unsporting,’ emphasizes the need for intervention through various programmes such as the Pink Reign campaign to promote women and girls not only as professional, amateur or recreational athletes but also as officials, administrators and leaders in sports.
The data provided for 2020 to 2023 of over 1,000 girls taking part in the #GirlsrunTTChallenge is encouraging, as this period was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, research on the intersection of gender, sport, and physical activity complements the 2024 campaign activities.
Breaking the back of the traditional view that sport and physical activity are not activities for girls and women is a work in progress, similar to encouraging persons to get involved in sport and physical activity to reap the multifaceted physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits. The minister’s advocacy and the delivery of the programmes are steps in the right direction.