All this week I’m looking at different campaigns from around the world encouraging us to embrace our differences. It’s all part of the build up to this Friday’s International Women’s Day (8 March). Today’s video is a lot closer to home.

In 2015, a bold new advert appeared on TV in England inviting viewers to challenge a number of preconceptions.

A woman in swimming gear walks between lockers towards a swimming pool where the camera zooms in on her adjusting her swimsuit.

But she’s not the kind of stick thin swimwear model we’re used to seeing on TV. She’s a much more realistic interpretation of what the average British woman looks like.

Against the backdrop of Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’, the video jumps into a montage of a female goalkeeper throwing the ball to her team, a young woman with gold hooped earrings putting in a mouth guard, a group of women of varying shapes and sizes adjusting their swim caps on what looks like a grey cold day…

It’s all part of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. Funded by the National Lottery and Sport England, it’s designed to get women and girls of all ages getting fit and taking part in sport.

But where other campaigns might strike a judgmental tone to guilt trip people into joining a gym, ‘This Girl Can’ embraces what others might see as flaws and challenges stereotypes.

The campaign aims to empower women who may feel embarrassed or shy about their bodies to instead embrace how they look and focus on their achievements.

And it worked – the campaign is credited with persuading 1.6 million women to start exercising.

In total, around 2.8 million women said they’ve become more active as a result of the campaign. In the two years between the first advert airing and a second in 2017, the gender gap between men and women exercising regularly narrowed from 1.78 million to 1.3 million.

This year, the campaign has pushed the theme forward with a new advert showing a mum jogging while pushing a buggy on a winter’s day, another hula-hooping in her kitchen, a woman holding her boobs while bouncing on a trampoline – all with ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ played over the top, reinforcing the idea of perseverance against the odds.

This year’s caption? #FitGotReal

Although ‘This Girl Can’ is an English campaign, it would appear the phrase has inspired a few Scottish campaigns too.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backed Ayrshire College’s #ThisAyrshireGirlCancampaign encouraging more women to consider careers in sport and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The University of Strathclyde Students’ Union also launched This Strath Girl Can focusing on empowering and encouraging their 10,000 female students to be active throughout their time at University.