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By Rowan Forster

 It began with a 90-second video clip that inspired 3.9 million British women to get active.

On Tuesday, the “This Girl Can” campaign – spearheaded by VicHealth and the Richmond Football Club – came to Pakenham.

Richmond VFLW captain Jess Kennedy and club head coach Damien Hardwick took centre stage at the Cardinia Cultural Centre to outline the benefits of becoming more active.

The event, which offered a free luncheon, addressed the various challenges women face in embracing their health and fitness.

Alongside panellists, representatives from local sporting and activity groups provided insight as to how women can engage with sports and activities in the local community.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said if women saw themselves represented on screen, they became more likely to overcome feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

“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.

“Concerns about how they look, that they aren’t skilled enough or that they should be prioritising their family or work over exercise are genuine obstacles for women.

“However, we know if women can identify themselves in advertising and in the media, they’re more likely to overcome this fear of judgement.”

VicHealth’s campaign is aimed at celebrating women who give it a go, no matter how well they do it, or how red and sweaty their face becomes.

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