Are Women’s Only Gyms Discriminatory?
The first thing to note is that there are no laws or regulations prohibiting women from working out at men only facilities. There are several reasons for this:
1) Most gyms have been established with male clients in mind; they were not originally designed for women.
Therefore, it makes sense that these facilities would have separate workout rooms and equipment for men and women.
2) Many gyms are owned by religious organizations which oppose homosexuality.
If these businesses had to allow any type of activity other than their own, then they could lose their tax exempt status. So, they don’t.
3) Some gyms have policies against all types of activities including those that might offend someone’s moral beliefs.
These policies may include “no shirts” policy or dress code restrictions such as “No shorts.”
4) Many gyms are private clubs and many memberships require membership dues to be paid.
They would not want to incur the expense of having a separate area for women if they did not expect them to pay their fees.
5) Some gyms have a strict dress code which includes skirts, dresses, etc.
These rules are usually enforced by security guards and bouncers who enforce the rules. In many cases women are not allowed to enter gyms without men. This is usually done to prevent young men from being distracted by women in revealing clothing.
We can see that there are several reasons for closing off the female clientele from the male clientele. Although some people may believe these restrictions to be illegal or discriminatory, a majority of the restrictions are based on morality, safety, and protection of business assets.
So, are women’s only gyms restrictive of men?
No, not any more so than men’s only gyms are restrictive of women.
What about Curves?
Many people don’t realize it, but Curves is a chain of women’s only gyms. They have no restrictions on who they allow in their clubs, but they are still considered “women’s only” gyms. This is mostly because of their advertising policies. They do not advertise in magazines like Playboy, or websites that have “adult content.” They also do not allow men in their clubs to perform any of the exercises. This is done to maintain the company’s family friendly image and keep its advertising costs down.
So, are women’s only gyms discriminatory?
No more so than any other gym. Their policies might seem unfair and restrictive but they are based on several important factors.
The moral of the story is this: If you want to go to a women’s only gym, then you need to find one that doesn’t have any men around. If you want to go to a co-ed gym then you should be prepared to see all types of people in your gym.
If you believe that any of these policies are discriminatory or illegal, you should contact your local Better Business Bureau. They can mediate your concerns with the management of these businesses.
This article contains some useful information, but it fails to address all of the important issues.
Firstly, many women’s only gyms are still very restrictive of men. For example, they may not allow men to enter the facility at all or they may allow men in only if they are accompanied by a woman who is a member. If the staff discovers that a man has entered the facility without a woman then they will be asked to leave. They may even be reported to the police.
Secondly, what about Curves?
While it is true that women’s only gyms can include Curves in their ranks, a large number of these facilities are in no way “women friendly.” In fact, many of them engage in very discriminatory hiring practices. These practices not only prevent men from working there but they also prevent women from working there as well. For example, it is very common to find gyms that will hire only married couples as staff members. This prevents women who have no children, divorced women, or women who don’t have a husband from getting a job there.
In other cases, the female owner of the gym will only hire female staff members. This means that if you are a man and you are looking for a job as a fitness instructor then you are out of luck.
This doesn’t even address the issue of pay and promotions. It is very common for women’s only gyms to underpay their employees. This can be seen very clearly with personal trainers. In many cases, female personal trainers are actually making less than the “starting salary” that most gym teach new employees to offer! This can’t be because the employees are less skilled.
It must be because the owners are sexist and trying to save money by paying women less.
The worst part is that most of these gyms are very large and they have a lot of individual clients. They could easily pay their employees more. But, the owners don’t want to do this because it would cost them money.
Fortunately, we don’t have to put up with this kind of discrimination anymore! With the invention of the internet and online advertising we now have many choices for finding gyms and fitness centers. If we are willing to travel a little bit then we can also find many non-discriminatory gyms that are close to home. The moral of the story is this: If you don’t like something then you need to stop doing it! Don’t try to change something.
If enough people stop going to women’s only gyms then eventually these facilities will be forced to change.
Their financial struggles will become so great that they will have to start making changes or they will go out of business. It is very possible that this is starting to happen now. There are a lot of women’s fitness centers that have recently closed. Others are on the verge of closing. This trend will probably continue until only the very best and non-discriminatory gyms are still in operation.
Of course if you have no problem with women’s only gyms then by all means keep patronizing them. I’m just stating my opinion on the matter and you are free to form your own.
Sources & references used in this article:
Tough enough and woman enough: Stereotypes, discrimination, and impression management among women professional boxers by C Halbert – Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 1997 – journals.sagepub.com
On the Eve of Title IX’s 25th Anniversary: Sex Discrimination in the Gym and Classroom by D Heckman – Nova L. Rev., 1996 – HeinOnline
Female-Only Platforms in the Ride-Sharing Economy: Discriminatory or Necessary by PM Tarife – Rutgers UL Rev., 2017 – HeinOnline
A Guy Walks into a Bar: Gender Discriminatory Pricing and Admission Policies in Las Vegas Establishments by SS Brouwers – Nev. LJ, 2010 – HeinOnline