#WEWILL campaign to raise awareness of safety fears of female runners

19 Mar 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

A collection of organisations, including This Mum Runs and Women’s Running, is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the sexual harassment of women runners. 

The #WEWILL collective is a campaign focused on the positive actions men and women can take to enable women to ‘run free from fear, to be safe, and to feel safe in every part of their lives’.

Founded by This Mum Runs CEO, Mel Bound; Women’s Running Editor, Esther Newman; Third Eye Marketing Founder, Ruth Hooper; and The Space Between Co-Founder, Lisa Parfitt, the collective aims to bring men and women together to pledge to support positive actions to create ‘widespread societal and cultural change’.

The campaign highlights a survey conducted by Women’s Running which found that 69% of women do not feel safe, or adjust their behaviours to feel safe when they run. 79%, meanwhile, have been shouted at while running while 31% have thought about stopping running because of safety concerns. 

According to the collective, harassments go unreported, while women either don't know they can report it, or don't think they will be taken seriously.

In a release, campaign organisers said: “In the days following the murder of Sarah Everard, and reflecting on the deaths of Blessing Olusegun, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, as well as the cry of help from our run communities, it became abundantly clear to us that we have all been changing our running (& walking) behaviours out of fear our whole lives. Many women have told us that it’s behaviour so ingrained that they’re not even consciously aware of it. The men in our lives were also shocked, “we had no idea” was a common response.
 
“We are inspired by women who share their experiences with men, not just live with them. We are inspired by men who are inspired to listen to women’s lived experience and question their actions (and those of others) and address those behaviours. This isn’t about campaigning for quick fixes, #WEWILL is a campaign to force out a systemic culture of female oppression.

“Abuse of women by men isn’t just a woman’s problem. This is everyone’s problem – man, woman and child – this is time for us to come together to make collective change. #WEWILL will focus on changing behaviour and attitudes towards women and initially promote & support positive actions that men and women can both take, via pledges, to add up to widespread societal and cultural change. We can’t do this by ourselves.”

The campaign urges everyone to pledge to make a change, and post their commitment to social media using the #WEWILL hashtag.