The idea of a women only gym seems innocent enough. After all, many women may feel more comfortable exercising in a gym where there are no men around. In a women only gym, they would be more likely to give and receive open advice on their health condition and their workout plan. With women-centric trainers, females could likely get better advice as well as have options for activities that may not be available in co-ed gyms. There are also religious factors to consider. Some women are simply prohibited to expose too much of their bodies to men.

But are women only gyms guilty of discrimination?

A women only gym means that no men are allowed. Period. No questions asked, right? There have been cases where men have tried to joining a women only gym and sued when they were denied access. There might be some question as to why a man would want to join a women only gym; whether his intentions are to simply be disruptive or because of some ulterior motive. However, there may very well be a good reason for a man to want to join a women only gym. It could be that there are no other facilities in his local area or region. It could be that the particular women only club meets with the man’s health requirements.

Despite the growing popularity of women only clubs, there are a handful of lawsuits that claim these clubs are discriminatory. In 2000, the Alaskan Human Rights Commission–at the behest of a disgruntled man–made an attempt to ban gender only health clubs. However, the result of that backfired when the Alaskan legislature made it legal for gender discrimination in Alaskan health clubs.

More recently, there was a case in 2005 where a civil rights group sued a women only club in Santa Rosa for potentially refusing entry of one man. It turned out that the women only gym had already been told to make changes to accommodate men in 2004, but had failed to do so. This refusal led to the 2005 case being brought up and consequently enforced.

What followed were successful lawsuits against women only gyms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California and Orange County. Some of these cases were won on the premise that men were not only denied access to work out at the clubs but also because they were also denied employment. In a case against Women’s Workout World in Chicago, not only were men finally allowed to work at the gym, but the ones who were turned down were paid $30,000 in damages. In 1997, a lawsuit against a Massachusetts health club, Healthworks Fitness Center, ruled that the club could not exclude men.

And despite the small number of men opposed to women only health clubs, you would be surprised to find that they have actually gotten some support from NOW (National Organization for Women) who object to any law they feel is permitting discrimination.

Due to the amount of protests from angry women regarding rulings in favor of men, many states have passed legislation to permit single-sex health clubs that benefit both sexes. These states are Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Tennessee and New Jersey. NOW has objected to each of these rulings.

In another twist of events, in 2008 North Carolina sued Peak fitness for actually going from a women only gym to a co-ed gym! In this case, Peak fitness closed its women only Arboretum gym and notified members that they could use other Peak fitness facilities. Peak fitness would not release the contracts of those women who didn’t want to be forced to go to a co-ed gym. The state of North Carolina argued that Peak should have released those women from their contracts. The final ruling was that Peak fitness could not continue to take money from former Arboretum members without permission.

There are many opinions on the issue of women only gyms. The general feeling from most people is that it is fine to have women only gyms as long as there can be men only gyms as well. After all, it is true that men act differently when around only men, and so it only seems right to have a place where a man can work out comfortably without women present.

But for many women’s rights advocates, women only gyms and men only gyms open up the door for further discrimination against women in other areas.  Many activist groups claim this could actually be a step back for women’s rights!

What do you think?  Leave a comment below..

    420 replies to "Are Women-Only Gyms Guilty of Discrimination?"

    • dumbest law ever……..

      Only in America!!!!!!

      80% OF ADULTS ARE OBESE AND NOT DISCOURAGING WOMEN WHO DONT WANT TO GO TO A REGULAR LADIES GYM BUT PREFER CURVE STYLE WORKOUT!
      Only in America!!!!!!

    • The Washington Athletic Club was sued for being men only. The case was decided by the US Supreme Court. Single gender clubs are not allowed according to that case.

    • I opened an all women’s gym in 1997 before Curves franchising really took-off, (a real gym – not a Curves style) and all I can tell you is that any time spent in an all women’s gym will demonstrate exactly why they are necessary. There are many women who have been traumatized by experiences in their lives – abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. and feel unsafe or awkward in a co-ed gym atmosphere. These women simply wouldn’t work out in any other atmosphere. I had many women trying to join who were overcome emotionally because they were so afraid to start working on themselves. Only someone with no empathy nor compassion would call women’s only gyms discriminatory.

      • The points you brought up are the primary reasons I feel there is nothing wrong with having a women-only facility. Though men and women are considered equal by law, women are more likely than men to experience physical and emotional abuse from a man than the other way around. (I know there are exceptions to that rule) Plus due to the fact that men and women are wired differently and have different needs, women only facilities are necessary in my opinion. Plus you girls definitely need a break from us guys. And you need to feel free to sweat your arses off without worrying about us judging you. Because men judge. Period.

      • I opened my first fitness center 9 years ago in Boulder Colorado. I believe the key is a fitness facility that blends young and old, male and female with quality care and good judgement. Our split is currently about 50/50 male to female. Most women who feel uncomfortable about large fitness centers and the meat market mentality, after a short period thank me for bringing them pure quality in our approach. If there is an issue it gets dealt with swiftly and intelligently. I believe that if there is a trauma in the past the best thing to do is learn about the quality relationship we can all have for each other. Separation has never been a good answer in my book. A loving and caring environment for people to get great exercise and feel intimidation is what I have put together and seems to be working very well. Thanks all for the comments on this subject. Ssm

      • Pat

        Legally, they are discriminatory, period. Empathy and compassion have nothing to do with the law. Young boys get raped by men, and grow up to men themselves, maybe they need to go to a gym where they can feel safe too. There are all kinds of angles to look at this, but LEGALLY, it is discriminatory.
        Men have lost boys groups (scouts, cubs, etc…) sports, all because females wanted to get into them too, but when it comes to sharing something of their own, that’s different.
        Just look at sport interviews, women reporters are allowed into men’s changerooms, but men reporters are not allowed into women’s. Are they not all professional?

      • greg

        there are more men who suffer rape and sexual assault then women, the prison system is designed so the weaker prisoners can be traded off for sex by the stronger ones but no one gives a fuck about their rights because A. they are criminals and B. they are men. All women’s gyms are by nature discriminatory. there should not be any woman’s only gym, there is no argument that could be made for it if you look at actual man to woman assaults men to men assaults and woman to man assault ratios. domestic violence that is committed by woman on there male mates is 50% so dont by the feminist bullshit. you would not accept this if this was a whites only gym, why would you accept it if it is a woman’s only gym. Woman have integrated into all aspects of what we have reserved for men and now must live with it (boy scouts, sports, ect..) you cant have it both ways. women have been some of the most entitled people although out human history and all the special favors we do them is a disservice to both men woman and society as a whole. end the nonsense or we are going to go the same way as Japan with men opting out of all relationship with woman…now its time for people to start calling me a misogynist

      • john

        womens only gyms put the ” wants for women” over the rights of men and thats not right. to me this is just again women wanting the best of both worlds and that not right. if there is womens only gyms then those are the only gyms women should be allowed to go to.

      • tony drizbintz

        “Though men and women are considered equal by law, women are more likely than men to experience physical and emotional abuse”

        Physical is a given… but emotional? I’d say unstable/unbalanced/mentally ill women are more likely to emotionally abuse partners, and unstable/unbalanced/mentally ill are more likely to physically abuse partners.

      • feminism is soooo necessary

        men have suffered from those things as well, you’re a bigot.

      • feminism is soooo necessary

        you’re a bigot.

      • Jesse Davidson

        >>There are many women who have been traumatized by experiences in their lives – abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. and feel unsafe or awkward in a co-ed gym atmosphere<<

        Change the words to "There are many white people who have been traumatized by experiences in their lives – abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. and feel unsafe or awkward in a mixed-race gym atmosphere" and it takes on a different look.

        There is either no excuse for discrimination or it is okay, there is no middle ground.

    • terri

      As a woman I hate the idea of women only clubs. Women fought hard for “equal rights”
      In Portland Oregon they started women only times at city pools. After wasting many tax dollars and cutting men off from the pool they dropped the idea. The reason for women only hours was to allow religious women to swim. Men and women balance each other out, ladies get over yourself!

      • Sectioning off time for gender specific I’m not a fan of. I say all or nothing. To have a business open to both genders, then to say for two hours only men or only women can come seems like a bad idea. I can just picture the men standing outside with arms crossed staring at their watches glaring at the women inside waiting for the time slot to be up. Not good.

      • Jamie

        Terri

        Congratulations for having the confidence to speak out so freely about this situation there are lots of women out there that are unable to do this. However it is often people such as yourself who have a single, blinkered view on life that creates these problems. You may not have any reason to question your confidence as you may have never been through the experiences that others have. Would you truly stand in front of a rape victim and tell her to, “get over herself”?

        I really hope that someday the penny will drop and you will change your views i just hope it isn’t a traumatic experience that does it.

      • Deb

        It’s hardly a matter of “getting over ourselves”…most men making an issue of this is simple because they can. If they want to join a women-only gym and there are men’s gyms in the area, there’s a not-so-wholesome reason for it. Most importantly though, we are made differently, plain and simple. I am petite and cannot easily reach or manipulate the made-for-men machines which means I don’t get as good a workout as the men for whom these machines are typically made!

      • greg

        there are more male rape victims then women, so im with the lady above when she says women these days need to get over themselves, and there is no such thing as a all male gym…woman so that all those where caned a long time ago, men have never been a threat to women men have always been the protectors of women but people are stuck so far up feminist polices ass that they for get that men have evolved to have the inbuilt imperative to protect women and children (titanic, war time policies)so i still don’t see the whole rape victim argument. if a man tried to rape a woman i guarantee 5 more men will jump to that woman’s defense.

      • specialsnowflake

        Let’s have co-ed changing rooms while we’re at it. Women shouldn’t not have the option of being oogled at and hit on by men if they so choose.

        Who are you to tell anyone to get over themselves? Take your own advice.

      • Jon

        Catt, are you suggesting that every women who uses a female only gym is a rape victim? This is ludicrous. Dress it up any way you want, this is discrimination.

      • john

        really jamie????? Ok so im a man that feels very uncomfortable working out in front of women but where is my safe haven. also jamie i didnt realize that women were the only one that have suffered traumatic events and feel uncomfortable around the opposite sex. and i dont get the connection between being rapped and going to the gym. rape is horrible but should we have women only super markets so there is no chance of a rape victim running into a man. like i just dont get the link your trying to make. I think women only gyms is the first key turn to opening Pandoras box. what next whites only gyms because white americans fear the black man or how about muslim only gyms. like come on ppl do you not seeing where this is leading. WAKE UP

      • Pvblivs

        My take on it is this.

        Allowing both women-only and men-only gyms, fine.

        Forbidding both women-only and men-only gyms, also fine.

        Saying women-only gyms are desirable and/or necessary while forbidding men-only gyms — sexist.

        The way this stands, this is about creating more options for women than there are for men. And the excuses for it don’t matter. If it is acceptable to exclude men from some gyms, then it is also acceptable to exclude women from others. That is a reciprocal proposition.

    • J Ramsay

      I own a non-intimidating 2,000 sq ft. co-ed 24 hour gym in a suburban area and struggling to break even. A women’s only gym (Not Curves but an independent) who has two locations on either side of me (let’s say 2 miles to the East and 4 miles to the West has two to three times as many members as I do. She’s doing something right. I’m doing something wrong. Their demographics are very similar to mine so kudos to them to keep that model of women’s only as long as they can. Now it’s time to decide if I should change my model.

      • J-
        Niching is always better than not niching. If you’re interested in 30 minutes with one of my consultants to get some ideas to help your gym, let me know. It’s on the house.

    • I own a women-only gym. Although I never personally had an issue working out in co-ed gyms, when I became a personal trainer at a women-only facility, I definitely could see why many women would prefer it. Like it or not, our culture makes many women insecure about their bodies and that’s certainly compounded at gyms where men oggle women while they exercise.

      As far as allowing men to work at female facilities, that seems to somewhat defeat the purpose of a women-only space. It may be fine at some gyms but I think should be up to the owner. If you are going to allow single-gender facilities then I don’t think you should force owners to hire the opposite sex to work there.

      Regarding the Peak Fitness situation, I agree with the state of North Carolina. Most, or at least many, of the women who joined probably did so because it was a women’s gym. For Peak to change such a major component of its facility and then refuse to release members from their contracts is unethical.

    • Rob

      The idea of a women’s only club is not an issue and I do not feel there should be anti-discrimination laws passed because of it. Ultimately NOW needs to get a grip! I do feel that there should be a law that requires club owners to provide equal facilities to both sexes if such laws exist. This is where discrimination becomes an issue for me. There should be a “his and hers” type arrangement. I am a club owner and in our larger locations we separate the free weight area from the cardio, circuit, group ex and kids fun zone for that purpose. Yes, some women use the free weights and vise-a-versa, but each are at a minority in the other’s space. As a former power lifter, I can tell you that when I am under a 500lb bench press I am not at all concerned with what comes out of my mouth… gym etiquette is much more important when women are around. It really just comes down to comfort for self-conscience women.

      • Joe

        Why stop at separating people by sex? Why not have whites only gyms? How about gyms where Christians can workout without having Jews around? That sounds good. I feel uncomfortable working out around gay people. Can I open a straights only gym? That seems to be the entire argument for women’s only gyms. Just replace the word “women” with anything else (white, Christian, straight, Muslim) and you see how discriminatory this practice is. ON THE OTHER HAND, it’s a private club and they can do whatever they want.

    • I opened and all women’s gym back in 2003. We are a full service workout facility with many different amenities. It has been a blessing to many women who want to work on themselves without feeling inadequate among men. We have women who come to us for religious reasons and would not be able to workout at all if not for an all women facility. The women come to the facility to get energized, build friendships, and sweat their butts off. In order to get fit you have to workout dirty and get funky. Most women will not give it their all in the presence of men. It does not matter if you are married or in a relationship, we all want to be attractive to the opposite sex so the focus is not 100% on getting fit in a co-ed gym. I actually have received many letters and comments throughout the years from member’s husbands, boyfriends, etc. about having a great place for their women to escape, get fit and come home happy. An all women gym benefit both genders. Don’t hate!

      • john

        great michole i agree. so as a man can you please point me to the mens only gyms where i can go and work out with out women watching me, because i honestly feel insecure working out around women. if insecurity is a problem with women then deal with the insecurity dont nurture it.

      • john

        I have a gym right across the street from me but its a women only goodlife. Then i drive down the road to my gym and a pass another womens only athletic club. 15 minute drive later im at a goodlife im allowed in but it doesnt stop there. usually its busy with both men and women, id say just about 50-50. so im in line while a women is using a machine and look to my left and i see a hardly filled women only section at the co-ed goodlife. please someone explain to me why im not supposed to me angery and feel 100% discriminated against. But the ton on this site seems to be ” whatever makes women happy”.

    • Joe

      If there are no more women only clubs does that mean no more chocholate milk?

      When we allow the courts and the legislatures to make the determination no one wins. Let the market dictate the viable business models for the fitness industry. Let the consumer choose.

      • john

        good then i choose the gym across the street from me. o wait its womens only. women hate being google but skin tight lulu lemon and low cut tops seems to be most womens first choice. i love that most the ppl on this site the support women only gyms have opened there statement saying ” HI im the owner of a women only gym” no hiding motive there??? maybe women should stop idolizing 30 pound super models and see what the does for the confidence.

      • Pvblivs

        Unfortunately, that can lead to some consumers getting cheated because all the “service providers” agree to do something a particular way.

    • Dar

      Well, I wonder how men feel when bars offer Girl drink free nights? Ladies can drink all they want…men have to pay for their drinks. Just something to think about. I can’t go down our hometown street with out seeing bar signs offering this. Wonder if the guys feel the same about this issue. Is this a fair deal?
      Just saying.
      About the gym’s, some states have laws in place for same sex clubs. It shouldn’t be an issue.
      For some to collect 30 thousand dollars in damages because they were denied into the club. Wow!
      How about worring about our gas prices and the shape of the economy and let the gyms do as they wish.

      • Yes, some of us guys don’t like the fact that woman are given free drinks/entry to lure guys in. Its cheap and discriminatory. Bars should offer free drink tickets to both sexs instead.

        I mean seriously, in todays world, where men and women can earn a similar salary, would you always want to pay for the other person?

    • It’s funny I had been entertaining the idea of becoming a women’s only facility(Knowing that my facility was more appealing to women by design) and after attending BCBC I decided I was going to “niche” my studio as a women’s studio. Big reason is there are no women’s only places in the town I live in. And like it or not yes some women for whatever reason(religion,past sexual abuse, abusive jealous husbands who would freak if their woman was looked at) I personally would workout wherever but some women need the security of a women’s only. My husband had to make fun of me for going Ladies only. Not in a bad way but telling me how “exclusive ” I am 😀
      It’s not about discrimination , It’s about filling a need 😀

    • We’ve had similar situation years ago here in Australia. In summary the ruling was that ladies were providing a service to a market (women) that they be unable to adequately provide if other markets (ie men) were there. Much the same way a retirement home can state you must be over the age of 60 to live there. None of these lawsuits have been successful.

    • This is one really interesting topic. I can understand why some people may feel this is wrong, but if you think back 50 years ago, there was nothing for women at all. In any industry!

      The fact that people want to provide a service exclusively to women is a huge step forward in our society.

      Especially if the all women’s club is owned by a woman!

      Obviously this is a niche, but it’s still changing lives, and creating an environment for women to empower themselves.

      • greg

        Margaret Thatcher made her name 50 years ago in mans world by fighting the big boys on there terms and she won, Harriet Tubman was a female slave that managed to escape subjugation and make it to freedom…and she went back to free more slave! and just for that i hold those 2 woman above just about every modern woman and above any feminist, cause she did it on their own and Margaret has never said crap like 50 years ago women didnt have opportunities. woman have always had opportunities in this society open to them the reason they didnt take them was because A. back then they had to actually work for them and out compete against people who where competent in their fields without government help and B. they just weren’t interested in them. feminism is only handicapping society and female mentality, it is also hurting your business cause you would be getting more money if you had male clients 2…how is that not empowering?

    • Great article Curtis,
      Until last year, I thought that women only gyms were reducing their target market by 50% off the bat.
      However, I’ve recently been working (consulting) for a ladies only gym here in London UK, and can really see that the members value the privacy and intimacy of a women’s only club, and believe me, the member retention and referrals are fantastic!
      The one concession is that they let men join in yoga classes, but I think that’s just so that they can laugh at them (us) as we are generally a lot less bendy! 🙂

      Not aware of any lawsuits here in the UK, but then in that respect, we are a little different. 😉

      Keep up the good work,
      Cheers, Guy

      • Andywal

        Equality Act 2010 – which means clubs cannot discriminate because of gender.

    • B

      In reply to the PS about Curves owners on secret millionaire….. You are absolutely right about them paying more attention to the franchisees!. I am a Curves owner I have two clubs. It is an uphill battle with corporate. I see all the other Curves around me closing. It is very discouraging. I am actually merging my 2 clubs, so I can make some money. I am thankful for this site for offering countless ideas on how to grow my membership.

      • June

        I know what you’re talking about! I actually had 3 Curves within 2 1/2 miles apart:ridiculous. AT the time, Curves was pushing the sale of Franchises and EVERYONE joined Curves! When the hype died down, I was starving in 2 of them. So I decided to merge all 3 with my original gym and now I’m much less stressed, & I’m mildly profitable. I was able to renovate my first one, open for 9 years now, which made my members very happy and the gym is on an upswing. I LOVE the Curves workout, especially with CurvesSmart and the Zumba in the circuit! It truly is the best workout you can get in 30 minutes. If it weren’t for the Ladies Only gym, we have many members who would NEVER go to a co-ed gym and NEVER get healthy. It’s such a wonderful community of ladies who keep each other motivated!

    • Personal Training Gym in Sacramento

      It’s tough, because in the content of gyms the argument works out. But how can you apply it exclusively to gyms and no other business can really do the same.

    • Fargo Moorhead Fitness Bootcamp

      Great topic and discussion. As i read through all posts i noticed how my own thoughts changed. As a female I prefer a co-ed environment. I only use body weight & free weights for training which many women seem to prefer machines or cardio. I prefer male training partners because they push me harder. But I question what is the best direction as a trainer wanting to open a warehouse facility for my group/bootcamps. I felt women only would be a great niche. But as a busy mom I also see a strong need to also incorporate worthwhile youth programming in the same facility for convenience-and time efficiency.so then what about dad…and here I am again considering a co-ed facility. Curtis, I think I’ll take you up on the consult call 🙂

    • I am a woman and own a Curves and never stuck to any workout until I joined a Curves. I loved it so much I bought a franchise within a year. 8 years later it is still profitable even though we work much harder to keep and bring in new members. I would not be offended at all if an all male gym existed. Matter of fact some men don’t like working out with hot women because they are intimidated by them and in shape men. I also am not offended by an all male private university as many women are. Get over it!!!!! The women’s movement has been great but some things need to stay gender specific.

    • As a guy who actually ran a Women’s Only facility for several years I was privy to a unique perspective. Sure, most everybody initially wondered what the heck I was doing there. To which I’d respond just doing my job and making sure you ladies have a top notch facility.

      I learned some of the women were in fact there because of traumatic events or they were self-conscious. Of course,there was also a group who could care less about my presence they liked the club, the services we offered, it was convenient, and cleaner then many of the coed clubs around town.They didn’t care who was in charge just keep doing the job and our club well run.
      Then there were some who never voiced an opinion and just went on about their routine we interacted in no measurably different way than if we were in a coed club whether they acknowledged the difference or not I’ll never know.

      In all clubs we are dealing with different personalities, perspectives, and people in general. As fitness professionals it’s our job to fulfill needs. As business professionals it’s our job to identify a niche that is under-served and serve it.Womans only clubs do both and more for some.

      The great thing about America is we can choose! As a guy there are mens only clubs or coed facilities you can join which will have plenty of women you can flirt with if that’s your thing.

      The bad thing about America is that we have become overly litigious society where someone sees a potential legal angle and will try to capitalize without doing any work or having been harmed in any way.

      Stop wasting time looking for an EASY way and go contribute.

      Maybe someone should do an Idiots only concept!

    • Jim

      I have been a cheerleading and tumbling coach for 35 years, so it is fair to say that most of my income is derived from females. But a few years ago I had a group of young men who were interested in tumbling class if it could be an all male class. And I am talking about young men, ages 6-12. I was happy to get some male interest, so I said, sure, and the class begin last June with 10 guys. And I got a complaint from one lady that it was wrong to hold just a all male class. So to avoid possibly more complaints, I opened it up to co-ed. I don’t want to get into a male, female battle, but I do think that if women are allowed to have all female gyms, then it should be legal that men have an all male gym. That is just from a being fair stand-point, but personally I like coed gyms, and I feel the majority do too, plus with the economy, singe sex gyms would have to be large to financially survive. I’m kind of getting off the subject, but I think that it should be legal to have an all females or an all male gym. Personally, I would only be a member of a co-ed gym.

    • Ed

      The article and every comment presupposes that the practice of “discrimination” should be government regulated and therefore everyone misses the point.

      The result is all sorts of ambiguity and talk of abuse blah blah blah.

      People have a right to discriminate, or at least they should. Discrimination is the ability to see obvious (as well as not so obvious) differences and to cater to them.

      Also, freedom includes freedom of association.

      This is an example of how the issue gets muddled…

      You have the freedom to choose whom you work. Employees are free to discriminate against employers for any reason they wish. Should not employers should have the same freedom?

      If you believe in a free market system, then just say so, and not just pay lip service to it.

      If you are a statist, then stop being double-minded… discrimination is against the “law” regardless.

      Let’s have markets, not the government, determine the consequences of “discrimination.” In a real free market system single sex gyms would not even be an issue!

    • Cambio

      Some blacks are more comfortable working out in black-only facilities. Some whites are more comfortable working out in white-only facilities. Shall we have black- and white-only facilities too??

    • lorraine

      I was watching my husband play golf on the playstation and a conversation came up about the masters not letting women in.So this prompted me to look into the prevelance of women only clubs.I think the only reason men are so mad about women only gyms is because we took away the only thing that bothers them.Not having ass to look at in the gym.If these were all bridge clubs nobody would care.

    • Regular physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers also have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.
      Millions of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity.

    • What dont men just go to one of the million mised or mens gyms and stop acting like big babies. Uff

      • Bernard Black

        What didn’t African-Americans just go to one of the million African-American water fountains and stop acting like big babies. Uff

      • Howland

        That’s assuming there is even a such thing as a all men’s gym. So stop whining.

    • JMC Mostafa

      Terri- the comment you made (“women, get over yourselves”) and to so easily use the word “hate” when you discussed women’s only gyms made me feel sorry for you and your mentality on this issue. I am a 27 year old woman who reverted to Islam. A year before I reverted I had signed up at a local gym, only to never once go; although I wanted to very much so. I did not feel comfortable in a male dominated facility and could not work up the courage to “get over it”. I had been a victim of physical and sexual violence in the past. I ended up cancelling my membership. I have been looking to find a women’s only gym in my area for some time now, only to feel unfulfilled with what Curve’s has to offer. Now that I am Muslim, I feel even stronger about not wanting to be around men in such an environment. There is a great need for a women’s only facility, and the people who are trying to push lawsuits against this is ridiculous. You don’t see lawsuits against the Eagle Scouts or the Free Masons for not allowing women in their societies. Most women respect and understand the need to keep certain organizations same-sex. There were over 2.5 million Muslims in America alone last year with over half of that number being represented by women. Speaking from a business standpoint, it makes so much sense to have women’s only gyms- it will put money back into the community/economy and it will give some women who otherwise would not have a safe outlet and environment to out in, whether it be to lose weight, feel good about themselves, have a girl’s day, or just get out of the house. Gender discrimination lawsuits?? People need to start getting real and quit making a mockery of this country.

      • greg

        my cousins was attacked and raped by a group of white people and now has an intense fear of white people he is a man and wants to go to a blacks only gym? do you see the problem with your argument. people of wall races both sexes and all creeds go through hardships in society but it is only woman who as that special reparations are made for them, simply because they are women. men go through all the same things woman do and then some but they are simply told to man up and deal with it. if woman are to be equal to man they should be able to woman up and deal with it so you one telling you to get over it should not offend you so. my cousins was told to get over it many times.

    • Darla

      If there was a women’s-only gym near me, I would go join it. I worked out twice in a coed and left after one too many guys kept sauntering over to “correct my form” for me. When I work out, I don’t want some man standing behind me and fixedly ogling my ass through my not-at-all provocative long sweat pants. I’m not there for a date, I’m there to get FIT. But some men seem to think I’m there for both, and they’ll try to interrupt my workout with some cheesy lines and suggestive comments about my figure, even when I have headphones on. I’m not dressed cheaply or wearing a sports-bra with no shirt, I’m dressed in a tshirt and pants and I’m not advertising myself, so I don’t see why I should have to put up with it. I got tired of it and left and now I don’t get half as good a workout at home.

      If women-only gyms are the only way I can get a peaceful workout without being stared at and harassed, then so be it! Next I suppose you’ll tell me they’re making all public bathrooms co-ed because the men’s room was out of order once and some man sued for not being able to use the women’s. You owned the whole damn world for thousands of years, men, just let us have some stupid gyms.

      • Steve

        Darla,

        I think you liked it, or you wouldn’t go into such great detail about your coed experience.

      • Dan

        Steve,
        It’s that mentality that allows rape to happen. If she says she didn’t like it, then she didn’t like it. Period.

      • John

        Thanks for helping out Dan.

        You’re a *real* man. lol

    • In my opinion, women only gyms are not guilty of discrimination. We feel better when joining a gym where’s no man there and we feel free to share women stuff and not being shy of men.

      • Bernard Black

        and do you feel the same about mens only clubs? mens only bars? Mens only clubs such as Augusta National Golf club which recently admitted women for the first time in 80 years?

        You feel that women-only clubs are okay because women feel better joining a gym where there no man is allowed and you can be free to share women stuff. So then you must also be fine with clubs that are restricted to just one race?

      • Howland

        I just hope you have the exact same opinions then of men’s ONLY clubs, or at least what’s left of them.

    • I am a trainer who has put a studio in my home here in Colorado Springs. I have shared space at other stuidos and the last one I was at the women were not comfortable at all with the male trainer that was there. He never trained them but something about him made them uncomfortable. Since switching to my home studio, I have also switched to training women only. Having said that, I do train men, but they seem to be the ones that are just as uncomfortable with the big gym atmosphere. I just train them separately and it has worked out. The women I train are the same women that would not step foot in a regular gym, but needed one step up from curves.

      • John

        Yes, many people have poor body image and would prefer to workout without the opposite sex making around to make them uncomfortable. Just because most men steadfastly refuse to complain because they feel it makes them look weak, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t.

        These same types of men also won’t go to a doctor until they die of a hard attack.

    • STEPHEN

      Women-only health clubs, REGARDLESS of the reason why, are obviously discriminatory and actually serve to make the lives of women more difficult. Good-looking men are ogled by women in co-ed gyms – does that mean that such men should have their own health club? Of course not! It is wrong to cater to fears; that only enables the fears further. Female-only health clubs damage the concept of equal rights for women.

    • Mike Nike

      I think Women-Only Gyms are a great idea. They are mostly filled with women who are emotionally unstable, who feel they need protection from the evil beast that is Man. Would you really want to work out with these Women around? Not me. All the whining and complaining. Good Riddance.

      • John

        Good point, let the sexists self select and begone.

    • Len

      I live next door to a women’s-only gym in Boston. My wife loves it, but not because it’s women only. As a man, of course, I can’t use it. This is a real problem for me, since the only way I can visit a gym is to walk about a half a mile in either direction, often through the snow in winter, which is very unpleasant, and not a good way to prepare myself for a workout.

      I have difficulty understanding how I am not being discriminated against. Of course men do sometimes commit physical violence against women, but there is a lot committed against men. Of course men judge women, but women also judge other women, probably even more harshly, and men judge other men. I worked out for years in a San Francisco gym where most of the male customers were gay. I never once felt threatened, and if I was looked at I was flattered. There’s a sort of suppressed homophobia in the argument for these women’s gyms – the assumption that women don’t look at or judge other women sexually, and that men only look at or judge women sexually rather than other men. Both of these assumptions are plainly false. I understand that women are objectified, but in gym culture (perhaps uniquely in our society) the male body is also objectified.

      If you prefer to attract a certain clientiele, then get equipment suited to that clientele – have yoga classes and cycling circles instead of free weights. That’s fine. Hair salons and barber shops tend to serve one gender or the other, but they don’t need to block the other gender from entering or getting service. Open discrimination is just wrong.

    • It’s true. If you want yours then I want mine. Don’t fight me I won’t fight you. There is a bet with bet awards. Can I have a w e t. There was oppression due to discrimination but all your doing is keeping differences in the front of peoples minds. Dumb dumb dumb. Until this changes everybody loses.

    • And did you ever stop to think I don’t want a bunch of broads watching me as I work out. And why is the ywca for women only but my ymca is full of chicks. That’s the same backwards crap as before, but it benefits them now so they don’t care. It’s easy to corrupt someone. Just give them the power to do what they want. Oh and I wasn’t around 60 years ago so don’t blame me and I don’t care what happened 60 years ago so don’t use it as an excuse cause 60 years from now I’m gonna throw it back in your face. Can’t understand normal thinking…

    • Glenn

      All you women (and men) in this thread that support clubs exclusively for women need to change your attitudes. You would never stand for anything that was just for men. You claim believe in equality and yet only women have “special needs.” Anyone that wants to have something just for women should have to balance it out by having the same thing just for men and vice versa. Markets will come in line if people would abandon their bigotry against men for a way of thinking that is balanced and has reciprocity.

    • Bernard Black

      There might be some question as to why a man would want to join a women only gym; whether his intentions are to simply be disruptive or because of some ulterior motive.

      Why is it when a man fights discrimination he has an ulterior motive but when a woman does it she is a brave fighter for equality?

    • Mike

      I recently joined a local boxing gym which is naturally coed. The boxing lessons are mixed sex and it works very well with all being treated equally. They do offer a women only lesson and a LGTB lesson which is great way to introduce new people to the gym who are unsure because of the stereotype that a boxing gym has. Once they’ve been a few times, they normally want to join the coed groups that run more frequently. Women are just as good at boxing and being Gay has nothing to do with how good a boxer you can be. No discrimination is tolerated at the gym.
      Rather than segregating gym’s, men and women need to learn to train together. I accept that there are some people who may always feel uncomfortable or for Religious modesty reasons want single sex gym access. However the dedicated lessons cover that, but for the majority of the time coed is deemed “The Norm”. BTW the gym also does Martial Arts, yoga, weights, self defense and has standard gym equipment such as bikes, running machines so has a wide appeal. We even have an 80 year old woman who exercises there.

    • Niet

      @ Joe, John, and Bernard Black
      You people are literally too stupid to insult.

    • Cherie

      Wow, so many men on here being whiny about a women only gym where their are many men only organizations. Motorcycle clubs and their gender rules anyone? I bet these are American men whining too.

      • Cherie

        *there

      • John

        So only criminal organizations?

    • Rojas

      Nothing wrong with women only gyms… they are just providing a service that is in demand. There are plenty of co-ed gyms. Obviously fitness services will be segregated by body type. You can’t really compare it to racial segregation because that segregation fills no purpose except satisfying the prejudices of some authority.

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    • Michelle

      It’s not the same. Men are well-known for violence against women, not the other way around. In reality, things are not yet equal, as much as we are fighting and hoping for them to be. Women need safe spaces- spaces they can come together and relieve their minds of thinking about their physical safety. Men don’t need that kind of protection. Until a woman is just as safe as a man walking alone at night, I believe women should be able to have their own designated spaces.

      • John

        lol… so that time is now.

        Men are much more likely to get assaulted, just in general.

        Men usually underestimate personal risk and women usually overestimate it.

    • Tom Martin

      Michelle said “until women are as safe as men walking home at night… “. 90% of street violence is against men you pinhead!

    • freedomlover

      If only we had freedom of association. But I guess America is about equality over freedom these days…sigh

      “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
      ― Milton Friedman

    • David G

      A lot of people are missing the point. The issue is the hypocrisy.
      For decades every male-only space was deemed discriminatory, including the Boy Scouts . Men wanted their own space but women demanded entry and won.
      If you want to have female-only gyms, fine, i have no problem with that. But in doing so you must also allow male-only spaces.

    • John

      Women fought hard in the past to change or destroy male only organizations and spaces, and yet also at the same time keep the right to have any and all all of theirs. It’s our duty to throw that hypocrisy in their faces and out in public as often as possible.
      If an all powerful patriarchy exists then feminism must a part of it.

    • Calculon

      Women only gyms are absolutely sexist bigotry and should be opposed at every chance.

      The real problem with these gyms is that they are trading on a negative stereotype of men that is simply hateful. Not all men are lecherous rapist perverts. Many men are good, honorable people who are pillars of the community. Men are our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons, and frankly deserve better than this disgusting profiling. Sure, some men act in ways that are less than honorable, but the same could be said of any group, including women.

      Not letting men into a gym because men abuse women is no different to not giving jobs to women because they are not as smart as men, or not giving jobs to black people because they don’t work as white people. It is discriminatory profiling that is not based in reality and should be illegal. If women feel uncomfortable being in the presence of men then I think it is simply because they are bigots at heart who believe the hate-filled lies that our culture tells about men.

    • Sam

      I’m fine with women only gyms, as long as men are allowed men only gyms.
      Take the YMCA for example. It used to be for men only, while the YWCA was for women only. Now the YMCA is not only coed, it is mainly geared towards women with childcare, women-only spaces, etc.
      Yet, the YWCA remains women only. Is this fair? NO! Women want to be able to legally discrimate against men, but not allow men to discriminate against them.
      Total B.S.

    • peter

      I feel people should look at others as people and not a gender, if there is a woman club, there should be a man club, or it should be mixed. It’s about treating both sides fairly.

    • Don

      I go to a gym that has made the almost perfect place. There’s a separate gym area for women only, a separate gym area for children under 18 only as well as change areas for the kids, and a main gym area for everyone. They just don’t have a men’s only area. I think this should be the norm; not gender specific gyms because if you want to experience real gender discrimination try being transgender or intersex and not allowed in either gym. It’s not fun.

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