Empowering our youth to ‘have a go’

HELPING the next generation reduce negative thoughts is one of the main reasons Melinda Louden put her hand up to be involved in the This Girl Can campaign.

The teacher and mother-of-two is one of the faces of the VicHealth campaign, which aims to empower women across the state to get active and overcome feelings of judgement.

Mrs Louden drew on her own positive experience of being a member of a touch footy team. “It’s really awesome to be a part of it,” she said. Ms Louden said each ambassador involved with the campaign had a message.

EMPOWERING WOMEN: Warrnambool teacher Melinda Louden is proud to be part of the This Girl Can campaign. Picture: Rob Gunstone

EMPOWERING WOMEN: Warrnambool teacher Melinda Louden is proud to be part of the This Girl Can campaign. Picture: Rob Gunstone

“My head chatter is a bit crazy sometimes – it’s really hard to switch off,” she said.

“But when I play it limits that chatter and it takes away those barriers of ‘I can’t’.

“As soon as you take away those can’t statements it’s amazing what doors open, what you can achieve and how much fun you have along the way.”

Mrs Louden said she encouraged her daughters Mia, 8, and Nixie, 6, to get outdoors and be active.

“I hope that as their mother (I can) encourage them to get rid of negative thoughts,” she said.

She also wants to encourage students at Warrnambool West Primary School to follow their dreams.

“I hope that over time I can show the students what’s possible, what options there are,” Mrs Louden said.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the campaign showed every day women getting out there and having a go. “This campaign is all about getting Victorian women active, feeling proud of themselves and reaching their goals," Ms Hennessy said.

VicHealth chief executive officer Jerril Rechter said the fear of judgement – as well as actual experiences of judgement – stopped too many women from being physically active.

“Over half of Victorian women worry about being judged while exercising and for over 40 per cent this feeling of embarrassment or intimidation is so strong it actually stops them from taking part in sport or exercise,” she said. Visit www.thisgirlcan.com.au for more information.