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Female only gyms.

(35 Posts)
JLK2 Tue 25-Oct-11 22:24:50

I often wonder why these are allowed but male only establishments are not. Is it a special case or they legally not permitted to exclude men if they try to get in?

LeBOOOf Tue 25-Oct-11 22:29:56

Many gyms are de facto male anyway, so as a real life question, it's not that relevant, I don't think. I'm not sure if there are 'officially' male-only gyms (there might be, I guess), but councils etc. often offer female-only exercise sessions as part of their equality and diversity initiatives, as otherwise women of certain religions might be excluded altogether from the facility.

carpetmistress Tue 25-Oct-11 22:37:53

load of blocks tbh. You'd think a woman who goes to the gym would be strong; obviously not strong enough to tell ogling men where to go

KRITIQ Tue 25-Oct-11 22:47:36

I go to a women's gym because it's the most convenient one, I like the facilities and it's cheaper than most of the other gyms. There are fitness activities in leisure centres round and about that are specifically for men, for women, for young people, for pensioners, etc. As long as there are similar facilities available for others who want to use these, I don't get why folks get so aerated that there are some spaces set aside for certain groups - particularly where they might otherwise not engage if there weren't.

Yes, there are some Muslim women who come to my gym who probably wouldn't use the gym at the local leisure centre. There are also some women who are very self-conscious about their body image and wouldn't dream of setting foot in a mixed gym because of it. Many of them are quite young women, but who don't lead particularly healthy lifestyles and if fitness activities can be made less threatening and more welcoming for them, that's got to be a good thing. Me? I could care less whether a man nor beast was in the gym with me as I have my eyes closed and concentrating on what I'm doing most of the time.

Single sex gyms aren't the same as institutions that make big political, social or economic decisions or where power deals are brokered (so where direct or indirect exclusion of women isn't a good thing.)

sozzledchops Tue 25-Oct-11 22:48:11

My friends are Muslim and go to female only gyms, or they wouldn't be able to go at all. Same with swimming, they book out the pool for their own use. Why assume that men at gyms are ogling anyway?

carpetmistress Tue 25-Oct-11 22:50:53

its mentioned in the golfing thread sizzled

Triumph19 Tue 25-Oct-11 22:52:14

You can have Men only gyms. Many boxing gyms are men only.

My friend runs a female only gym and she said it was overweight and Muslim women who went to it because they did not like exercising in front of men.

It is allowed because it is a private club.

Like you have Private mens clubs, Womens institute. etc You can exclude the other sex from a club.

JLK2 Tue 25-Oct-11 22:53:26

I thought private mens clubs had been banned?

KRITIQ Tue 25-Oct-11 22:56:35

No, private men's clubs still definitely exist.

Ah yes, I think it is because gyms are "clubs" they can set criteria for joining, which could equally be about age if they wanted it to be.

bemybebe Tue 25-Oct-11 22:59:11

I wasn;t going to post as I have no experience of women-only gyms but the reference to Muslim women made me remember my antenatal swimming sessions in the local pool. The pool was closed for men to use on, what was it, Tuesday night and all the staff appeared to be female. There was a group of 10-12 of us. Amongst us a Muslim woman who came every week without fail with her husband. The said husband apparently did not allow her to go anywhere in public on her own, but was very comfortable sitting close by reading the newspaper... not like he was staring at us in our swimming suits splashing around but he was not exactly somewhere out of site waiting for his wife.

Now, nobody else battered an eye-lid, but subsequently I wondered if by this "female only" we just encourage the exclusion of women.

I do not thing there is such a straightforward answer.

Triumph19 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:00:39

Exactly.
Problem comes when you want to have a woman only organisation that makes a profit. Then it becomes illegal. As for men too.

I think the gym thing is not only a club but also exercising. It may be embarrasing!

bemybebe Tue 25-Oct-11 23:00:51

"think", not "thing" oops

Triumph19 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:03:39

I think seperation of the sexes is a bad idea in the short and particularly long run. It seems to be getting worse as well.

rshipstuff Tue 25-Oct-11 23:05:34

I don't understand why he would have been allowed to watch the swimming session. Surely that would be problematic for Muslim women present (other than his wife)?

bemybebe Tue 25-Oct-11 23:08:26

"I don't understand why he would have been allowed to watch the swimming session."
I know! I guess because nobody else objected and the leader did not see it as bid deal. Plus he was not obviously watching, just reading a newspaper and waiting for his wife, but still very obviously there... I found it odd.

Triumph19 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:18:43

At our gym they have women only swimming but the cafe is open to men which looks over the pool and the sides of the pool to the street has glass.
And there is often a male lifeguard with about 6 overweight women swimming.
Crazy.

KRITIQ Tue 25-Oct-11 23:42:11

6 overweight women swimming.
Crazy.

Oh how charming you are hmm

ecclesvet Tue 25-Oct-11 23:45:19

I was puzzled by that too, kritiq. I wasn't sure if the 6 women were the crazy part, which seems unlikely, or the male lifeguard, which from the context seems like the intended 'crazy thing' but doesn't make any sense. Does the gender of the lifeguard really matter?

ColdTruth Wed 26-Oct-11 00:03:43

I think Triumph19 meant it is hardly 'women only' if there are men present or able to watch, which defeats the purpose.

bemybebe Wed 26-Oct-11 00:07:11

I also do not understand the "overweight" comment. Why did you use it Triumph?

Triumph19 Wed 26-Oct-11 00:20:14

My point is that if you are going to exclude men then you would not want a male lifeguard, or men watching and having a sandwich in thecafe. That is the crazy bit.

As for the overweight women, they do feel self concious about exercising in front of men and hence they go to women only swimming. There are no normal sized women who go. They do not feel self concious and go to normal swimming.

ecclesvet Wed 26-Oct-11 00:24:54

Was the gym/pool specifically built as a women's-only type thing, Triumph, or is it just for a particular session?

KRITIQ Wed 26-Oct-11 00:32:07

It's a bit chicken and egg.

You have men only sessions. Some women won't come for religious, cultural, modesty, body image, etc. reasons, so will not be able to benefit form the service.

If you audit your service users and see that certain groups aren't using the service, you might set up some specific services to encourage them (e.g. 60+ session, women only, etc.)

You might find that take up is low, high or in the middle. You might find that you attract different people from what you'd hoped. You might want to review your marketing policy to see if there are still barriers or if you aren't pitching it quite right.

Anyhoo, didn't care much for Triumph's comment about "overweight" women being self conscious and not wanting to go to "normal" swimming. Women of all sizes and shapes may feel more comfortable in a single sex session. Similarly, many overweight women don't give a fig about single or mixed sex sessions. Major league assumptions going on there.

Also, I don't swim regularly anymore, but my boss who does says that some men can be very "aggressive" in the pool, taking up lots of space, tutting and cursing if someone gets in their way (particularly women or less proficient swimmers) and although she is over 6 feet tall, she says it's made her feel uncomfortable and she knows other women who've stopped going to her pool (or at least the mixed sessions) because of the behaviour of men.

So, it may not be down to wanting to be in only an all male environment. Women might have no issue with a male attendant or men observing from the restaurant.

Triumph19 Wed 26-Oct-11 00:35:12

No it is a council run local pool. It is 2 hours a week.

My point is that it seems to be superficial not necessary and not taken seriously.

bemybebe Wed 26-Oct-11 00:43:57

v good points kritiq

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