adidas has shared new research that highlights the safety concerns many women face when running and brings the findings to life through ‘The Ridiculous Run’ – calling for male education and allyship to help create change.
adidas surveyed 9,000 runners across nine countries to understand men and women’s experiences and perceptions of safety when running, and to support the ongoing work of the brand’s With Women We Run by adidas Runners initiative and partnership with leading charity White Ribbon, which focus on addressing harassment and safety in running for women.
Demonstrating the scale of the issue, 92% of women reported feeling concerned for their safety, with half [51%] afraid of being physically attacked, compared to 28% of men. Over a third (38%) of women have experienced physical or verbal harassment, and of these women over half have received unwanted attention (56%), sexist comments or unwanted sexual attention (55%), been honked at (53%), or followed (50%).
Of those who had experienced harassment, women were significantly more likely than men to suffer mental and physical side effects as a result with over half of women (53%) experiencing anxiety, compared to over a third 38% of men. The data also shows (46%) women reported a loss of interest in running in comparison to 1 in 3 (33%) of men, and 40% of women expressed heightened feelings of vulnerability compared to 30% of men.
The Ridiculous Run
The research demonstrates the need for change in both attitudes and action when it comes to women’s safety when running – finding that while 62% of men recognise the issue, only 18% believe the responsibility lies most with men to help women feel safer when running. That’s why adidas created The Ridiculous Run, to drive greater awareness of the realities women face every time they go for a run, and to encourage men to educate themselves on the issue and learn more about allyship. From wearing one headphone, to loose clothing, fellow runners, bikers and skaters in an all-out protective crew, the film explores how ridiculous a run must become for women to feel safe, and calls on the community to help change the current reality.
Supporting change from a grassroots level
The research and The Ridiculous Run were created as part of adidas’ commitment to help make sport equal – an ambition to drive inclusivity in sport by enabling access, equity and safety for marginalized communities. This latest initiative builds on adidas’ ongoing partnership with leading charity White Ribbon, which focuses on preventing violence against women and girls by educating men and boys.
The film encourages viewers to learn more via adidas’ allyship playbook, co-created with White Ribbon in 2022 and translated into six languages, designed to educate men on the issue and provide tools to help address harassment and safety in running for women. To date, more than 250 coaches and captains from the adidas Runners international community have received training alongside the toolkit and become designated ambassadors in the mission to create a safer environment for women who run.
“Together with adidas we can move one step closer to ending all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination, once and for all. We want all men to take action using the tools we have provided, wherever they are in the world to make a real difference to violence against women. Running is for everyone, therefore we’re committed to make sure everyone feels safer when pursuing a sport they enjoy,” said Humberto Carolo, Executive Director of White Ribbon, Canada.
Alongside this activity, adidas continues its long-term initiative, With Women We Run by adidas Runners, which is committed to playing a role in ending harassment and any forms of violence against women to transform running culture. Now live in 49 countries and across 72 communities, the goal is to create long lasting change from a grassroots level through the power of allyship, while also creating safe spaces for women runners.
To support these ongoing initiatives, the adidas Running app includes safety-focused features such as the ability for a runners’ live location to be automatically shared with selected followers, to help track their run – as well as educational content and allyship prompts. To date, there are over 120,000 signatures to the pledge, “I pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women” through the adidas Running app.
“We believe sport should be equal, and safety is essential to creating that reality. We know from our communities, and our research, that safety is the most discussed topic when it comes to women and running – and unfortunately women continue to be made responsible for protecting themselves.
“Addressing this issue is a marathon, not a sprint and our campaign will not solve this overnight, but if we can encourage more men to understand their role as allies, we can create progress and hopefully, change,” said Sina Neubrandt, adidas Women, Global Communications Director.
To learn more about the campaign and how to become an ally or find a local With Women We Run by adidas Runners community follow links below:
[1-7] adidas commissioned international research surveying 9,000 people (4,500 who identify as women and 4,500 who identify as men) across Japan, China, US, UK, Mexico, UAE, France, Germany and South Korea, aged 16-34. Responses were collected between 17 December 2022 – 6 January 2023.