Women only gym. Am I being a killjoy?

(113 Posts)
SapphosRock Wed 17-Mar-21 13:14:43

There’s a female only gym and cafe opening not far from me. The idea is so that women can train without fear of being harassed by men. So far so good. Sounded promising, I was tempted to join.


On further investigation I actually think it sounds pretty awful for three main reasons:

1.The owners are men. Not sure I feel about two blokes profiting from the discomfort and intimidation of women. Additionally, surely they will be present in the gym at times defeating the object of it being female only?

2.The name is shit. Women are much more than just Mamas.

3.They haven’t thought through their membership criteria or PR. Some women asked some completely legitimate questions on social media about their policy on including trans women. These women were basically told to shut up and go away.

In my opinion these men don’t have a clue about what women actually want from a female only gym.

Prepared to accept this is just be me being a grouch and they are approaching this with the best of intentions. Thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
Biscuitsanddoombar Wed 17-Mar-21 13:20:57

The name is dreadful! “mama fit” not all women are mothers, want to be mothers or can be mothers

If they think their “woman only” gym won’t be targeted by TRA they’re being exceptionally naive

I’m Sure they mean well but bluntly what to two mid 20s blokes know about what women want from gyms?

nevernotstruggling Wed 17-Mar-21 13:22:51

I go with your 1st point that 2 blokes running it is a bit meh

persistentwoman Wed 17-Mar-21 13:26:07

While suspecting that Biscuitsanddoombar is right about these blokes knowing what women want, you just know what women will be confronted with in showers and changing rooms there. Even if they tried to restrict this to women, they'd be trashed online in an instant.

HypnoRuler Wed 17-Mar-21 13:26:23

Seems sexist to exclude men from a premises. The same way it would be sexist for men to exclude women from a gym, golf course, etx.

Akela64 Wed 17-Mar-21 13:27:21

Jumping the band wagon. 2 blokes who want a quick buck without knowing who, what or why.

DeepThinkingGirl Wed 17-Mar-21 13:33:41

I once went to female only gym session

I was swimming In the pool and was met by a group of transwomen. A lot of women were intimidated and left. For religious reasons as well as personal reasons they all left the pool. Trans person was exceptionally loud and followed the women that left the pool to the sauna and the changing area knowing fully well that we were uncomfortable.

Seems like a great target for transwomen.

So I would ask the gym what’s their policy on that.


SquirtleSquad Wed 17-Mar-21 13:36:46

Mama fit envy

SquirtleSquad Wed 17-Mar-21 13:45:59

Their website says one of the owners is also the head coach.. so it's not just women. How misleading!

Youngatheart00 Wed 17-Mar-21 13:47:44

What about women who aren’t “mamas” (urgh I HATE that word)

SapphosRock Wed 17-Mar-21 13:51:18

I've been trying to think who will benefit the most from this venture. The owners, yes. Trans women, yes. Biological women, not so much.

OP’s posts: |
AIMD Wed 17-Mar-21 13:54:05

Yes - I’d say it is odd for any service aimed at a specific group to be set up and managed by someone not in that group. Especially when some of the reasons for that group wanting a separate space is about feeling safe.


Wrongsideofhistorymyarse Wed 17-Mar-21 13:55:48

I'm a member of a woman only gym locally. I know the owner and she's dedicated to keeping it women only. Thankfully!

langclegflavoredbananamush Wed 17-Mar-21 13:59:18

You are not being a killjoy. (YANBK) The situation is being a major killjoy.

DaisiesandButtercups Wed 17-Mar-21 14:00:12

I would love women only gym and pool, it would be so relaxing and liberating. I am happy of course that men should also have their own exclusive spaces for exercise and leisure. It is a shame that this venture misses the mark. It would need to be sex based and run by women for women in my opinion to meet the needs of the intended clientele.

Regarding men’s exclusive spaces, when they end up being the main places where business is done and political decisions are made, that is when women need access. We need a seat at the table and transparent processes rather than back room deals.

DublinDoris2000 Wed 17-Mar-21 14:01:03

I used to go to a women only crossfit gym and it was brilliant. Target market was women 30+. Owned and ran by a woman, the female trainers were great at modifying things for injuries/postpartum/fitness levels. Very supportive and had a creche for a couple of sessions. The vibe was more pro female community, rather than being anti men. So it can be great, but I wouldn't like it if run by men and named something stupid or patronising.

ByGrabtharsHammerWhatASavings Wed 17-Mar-21 14:09:11

I totally agree with you OP especially on your first point. I felt the same way when I found out the "she codes" courses were run by a man. The idea of a man profiting off the fact that men have excluded women from careers in web development really pissed me off. No no no, you don't get to solve a problem you created and then send us the bill for it!

DaisiesandButtercups Wed 17-Mar-21 14:20:34

Just to be clear as I forgot to say in my post


I agree with you that the name is rubbish unless it genuinely was specifically aimed at antenatal/postnatal fitness or providing childcare or a child friendly space to help mothers get exercise.

It is unlikely that men will understand what women need and want from the gym.

I don’t think that you are being a grouch about it.

Wearywithteens Wed 17-Mar-21 14:26:25

So not women only then - I would rather it be mixed sex. I would vote with my feet I’m afraid.

SapphosRock Wed 17-Mar-21 14:30:56

Glad it's not just me!

The owners should promote it for what it really is, a bog standard mixed sex gym.

There is an extra layer of complication promoting it as female only while allowing biological males to join. They will only be having female changing rooms and toilets won't they? They really haven't thought this through.

OP’s posts: |
idontlikealdi Wed 17-Mar-21 14:34:13

Many years ago I worked in a 'ladies only' gym, I was student and needed the cash. It was horrible. Mostly middle aged (my age now) ladies whose husbands would pay the membership so they could be thin again. It was/is a very non diverse city so nothing to do with religions / cultural beliefs. Just men wanting their women to be thin. Left a nasty taste in my mouth but I was found and needs the job.

wandawombat Wed 17-Mar-21 14:39:31

Actually I used to belong to a Crossfit gym that was run by 2 young lads & they were excellent. It could be a bit bro if a lot of the rugby guys were in but in terms of support, they were fab. It didn't appeal to meatheads flexing, so was comfortable.

That said, Mamas! I wouldn't feel wanted there, as I'd assume it for mums-only.

RoyalCorgi Wed 17-Mar-21 14:41:16

Legally, they're on dodgy ground, I think. Under the Equality Act there are certain exemptions where you are allowed to provide a service for one sex only. However, those exemptions do not allow you to provide for one gender only. In other words, offering a gym that is open only to women and trans women (but not to men) is in breach of the Equality Act.

NB IANAL so someone with the requisite legal knowledge might want to comment.

Aside from that, yes, it sounds shit. Anything with the word Mama in it should be avoided like the plague. And obviously there will be a rush to join from men who get a sexual kick from sharing a changing room with women, especially if the women are clearly uncomfortable with it.

MaMaLa321 Wed 17-Mar-21 14:47:32

I wouldn't want a women-only gym tbf. Confining myself in a single sex ghetto is retrogressive. If I was bothered by a man (and I never have been) I would complain, loudly. THAT is what Feminism is.

nevernotstruggling Wed 17-Mar-21 14:56:05


I wouldn't want a women-only gym tbf. Confining myself in a single sex ghetto is retrogressive. If I was bothered by a man (and I never have been) I would complain, loudly. THAT is what Feminism is.


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