Inspiring women and girls through sport - A closer look at the Pink Reign Campaign

Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis (centre) and Minister of Planning and Development, Pennelope Beckles (second from right), with #GirlsRunTTChallenge participants at the launch of Pink Reign 2024 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in January. - Photo by Roneil Walcott
Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis (centre) and Minister of Planning and Development, Pennelope Beckles (second from right), with #GirlsRunTTChallenge participants at the launch of Pink Reign 2024 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in January. - Photo by Roneil Walcott


In the landscape of sports, Trinidad and Tobago stands out with its innovative approach to promoting gender equality through the Pink Reign Campaign. Launched by the Ministry of Sport and Community Development (MSCD), this initiative has garnered attention for its comprehensive strategies aimed at fostering inclusivity and promoting active participation by women and girls.

The Pink Reign Campaign traces its roots back to Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to the Brighton Declaration on Women and Girls in Sport, signed in 1994. This commitment emphasised the need to increase female participation in sports across all levels and roles, aligning with global efforts to achieve gender equality in sports.

Aligned with the objectives of the National Sport Policy, the MSCD launched the Pink Reign Campaign with the aim of enriching citizens’ lives through widespread participation, quality training and sporting excellence.

The ministry says, “The primary goal of the Pink Reign Campaign is to foster the growth of women and girls in communities by offering opportunities to enhance awareness and participation in sports and physical activities.

“Its specific objectives include raising awareness about the significance of physical activity and sports in the lives of women and girls, promoting their participation, providing them with opportunities through sports, and highlighting the various roles they can play in sports, including as athletes, coaches, administrators, and more.

“Furthermore, the campaign targets working women, encouraging them to engage in physical activity to combat non-communicable diseases and reduce stress. It seeks to positively impact women and girls physically, emotionally, and psychologically through sports and physical activities, while also addressing stigmas that may hinder their participation.”

The Pink Reign Campaign also introduces unconventional sports and physical activities like martial arts, cheerleading, dance, badminton and jump-rope. This initiative aims to showcase that sports can be both enjoyable and transformative, leading to positive lifestyle changes.

Ultimately, the campaign seeks to unearth new talent, cultivate aspiring leaders, and cultivate a nurturing environment for women and girls in the realm of sports.

The campaign targets girls and women (aged seven and older), focusing on those interested in sports and physical activities but lacking information or motivation. Additionally, the campaign aims to reach individuals with disabilities, ensuring inclusivity across all its initiatives.

Since its inception, the Pink Reign Campaign has implemented various initiatives and activities to achieve its objectives. These include:

You Go Girl panel discussions: offering firsthand accounts of the triumphs and challenges experienced by girls and women who excel in sports in Trinidad and Tobago, these discussions aspire to ignite inspiration among others to embark on similar paths of achievement.

#GirlsRunTT Challenge: dedicated to the memory of the late Lynette “Granny” Luces, this sponsors 300 women and girls, encompassing those with disabilities, to engage in both virtual and in-person races. Additionally, it features pop-up events spanning five districts, climaxing in a Pink Reign 5K race.

Let Her Play Programme: this comprises several components. One involves dance collaborations with national governing bodies, while another offers basic self-defence courses in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Karate Union. Additionally, there are sessions on aerobics, zumba, and for the first time this year, an introduction to archery called Bullseye to engage women and girls in new sporting activities.

Life skills workshops, covering topics essential for sports career development, such as career planning, self-marketing, networking, etiquette and public speaking.

The campaign has had a direct impact on over 18,000 women and girls through their active participation in various programmes. Feedback from participants highlights the positive effects of the initiative, including improvements in physical and mental health, increased confidence and empowerment to tackle challenges.

Despite the difficulties posed by the covid19 pandemic, the Pink Reign Campaign swiftly adapted its strategies to ensure continuity. Virtual platforms were used for activities and efforts were made to enhance media coverage, showcasing female athletes and administrators to foster a sense of community and inspire future generations.

In 2021, to mark International Women’s Day, the ministry orchestrated the relaunch of the campaign in a virtual format. Sponsored by the MSCD, 340 women and girls were enlisted to take part in virtual road races spanning 70 miles from March-September 2021.

Winners circle: Arya Joseph (1st place), Latoya Thompson-Jacob (2ndplace) and Claire DeBourg (3rd place) at the Girls Run TT Challenge, hosted by the Ministry of Sport and Community Development in collaboration with Pink Reign and BAFA Sports held at the Eddie Hart Grounds, Tacarigua in May 2023. Friday May 26, 2023. - Photo by Roger Jacob

The Ministry commented, “These virtual races were facilitated by Bafasports, leveraging their existing platform. The primary aim was to promote healthy, safe, and active movement amidst the lockdown phase imposed by the pandemic.

“Traditionally, International Women’s Day has served as the symbolic kick-off for #GirlsRunTT Challenge, a cornerstone of the Pink Reign Campaign. Since 2021, the virtual component of this challenge has been sustained, granting participants flexibility to complete their mileage at their convenience.

“In subsequent years, namely 2023 and 2024, the MSCD expanded its approach by introducing community pop-up races. These initiatives were aimed at assisting participants in reaching their mileage targets and fostering a sense of community engagement alongside the virtual movements.”

On how the Pink Reign Campaign aims to foster a culture shift and promote life skills among women and girls participating in sports and physical activity, the ministry explained that it aims to do so through several strategies.

By actively involving women and girls in sports and physical activities, the campaign empowers them to challenge traditional gender norms and stereotypes, fostering a culture where participation in sports is seen as normal and desirable for females. The campaign also organises workshops focused on life skills which equip participants with practical skills that are valuable not only in sports but also in various aspects of their personal and professional lives.

The ministry noted, “Additionally, by showcasing successful female athletes and providing mentorship opportunities, the campaign offers women and girls tangible examples of achievement in sports. This helps to inspire them and build their confidence, encouraging them to pursue their own sporting goals and develop essential life skills along the way. The campaign also promotes inclusivity by providing opportunities for women and girls from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities, to participate in sports and physical activities...

“Overall, the Pink Reign Campaign recognises the transformative power of sports in the lives of women and girls, not only in terms of physical health but also in building essential life skills and promoting positive social change. Through its various initiatives and approaches, the campaign seeks to create a supportive and inclusive environment where women and girls can thrive both on and off the field.”

Through the campaign, the ministry plans to hold the fourth edition of the #GirlsRunTT Challenge and expand its community engagement. It aims once again to sponsor 300 women and girls to take part in a series of virtual and in-person races, ensuring inclusivity by accommodating those with disabilities. Additionally, the campaign plans to organise pop-up events across five districts, leading up to the grand finale: a Pink Reign 5K race.

Asked how the ministry is celebrating IWD 2024, and how the Pink Reign Campaign contributes to these celebrations, it said it was “promoting inclusivity for women in line with this year’s theme, #InspireInclusion. We are highlighting our female staff through various forms of recognition and encouraging all staff to share ideas for creating a more inclusive world for women.

“Furthermore, we invite staff participation in the #GirlsRunTT Challenge, a pivotal component of the Pink Reign Campaign.

“This two-pronged approach acknowledges women’s contributions to our ministry and supports the broader objectives of empowering women and fostering inclusivity in sports through the Pink Reign Campaign. By actively engaging staff in the #GirlsRunTT Challenge, we demonstrate our commitment to encouraging women’s involvement in physical activities and cultivating a culture of gender equality within our organisation.”

As for the message it would like to convey to the public on the importance of supporting initiatives like the Pink Reign Campaign, it said, “The Pink Reign Campaign is a beacon of gender equality and inclusivity in sports and physical activities, fostering healthier communities and empowering women and girls to unlock their full potential.

“Supporting initiatives like Pink Reign sends a powerful message that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves equal opportunities to participate and excel in sports. By breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes, we create a more inclusive society where every individual can thrive.

“Beyond promoting physical health, initiatives like Pink Reign play a vital role in the holistic development of women and girls, nurturing essential life skills such as leadership, resilience, and teamwork. Empowering women and girls in sports not only benefits them individually but also strengthens families, communities, and society as a whole.

“Let’s join forces to support initiatives like Pink Reign, celebrate the achievements of women and girls in sports, and advocate for inclusion in every aspect of our society.

“Together, we can build a future where everyone has the opportunity to shine, regardless of gender or background.”


"Inspiring women and girls through sport – A closer look at the Pink Reign Campaign"

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