In the UK and in other countries, too, there is a move to create female-only Gyms. They are sanctuaries for ladies and places to feel safe and confident. In this article, we look at the need, the trends, and what others say about the topic versus the search results and real-life answers.
Where do female-only Gyms stem from?
They stem from more females wishing to join the Gym and worrying about doing so. According to various sources, including
Monmouth.edu suggests that mixed Gyms “For women; however, these spaces can be particularly harmful, and sometimes even dangerous due to the nature of fitness centres and their propensity to foster an environment where sexual harassment often occurs without consequence.”
Glamour stated that in 2022, the number of searches increased by 69% and according to OriGym, this was due to fear of harassment.
We checked this ourselves and searched using SEM Rush for this article. The results initially appeared undeniable: the growth is significant. (fig 1) However, when checking other sources and taking a long-lens view on the trends for ‘Female-only Gyms’. Google data from the UK confirms that this trend has existed for more than five years and has remained consistent. (fig 2)
This trend is not growing but has existed for many years. It is clearly a trend the industry is now addressing, so results on tools like SEM Rush show an increase in results; there are more websites and more businesses in this niche.
As a major Gym Equipment supplier, when asked, Mirafit commented that they are aware of more Gyms opening as female-only. A spokesperson said, “We are seeing this trend being answered and have supported local businesses, such as EmpowHER Fitness Norwich, a female-only fitness space.”
Why are female-only Gyms becoming more popular?
When we look at the move to answer the need for female Gyms, you read across the internet that this is because of unchecked female harassment in Gyms. This is also hinted at in the earlier statements. It is fair to assume this might be the case in un-staffed self-serve Gyms, but it could be less prevalent in well-staffed and professional commercial setups, so choose your Gym well and go for somewhere you feel comfortable.
We asked Kay from EmpowHer Fitness why they set up and what they find ladies say when they join. The response was also not as straightforward. Kay said they founded the business to provide the space for ladies to train, feel confident and be less self-conscious. She went on to say that it was common for ladies to come to the Gym as they thought it gave them a space to train without judgement, and with other ladies who, like them, may have been less confident coming there for the first time. Kay then went on to say. “They are often conscious about their bodies and anxious about embarrassing themselves. We foster a nurturing environment where you can feel okay about yourself and your stage. Our members support each other, and it becomes a community to be part of.”
What do female Gyms provide?
So, following this feedback, we considered the top reasons for ladies’ Gyms and found a brilliant list from 247fitness.co, which gave the following information, echoing EmpowHER’s comments.
Here is the list:
- Privacy and Comfort.
- Fostering a Supportive Community.
- Tailored Workouts and Classes.
- Body Image and Self-Esteem.
- Safety Concerns.
- Gender Stereotypes in Traditional Gyms.
- Inclusive and Friendly Atmosphere.
- Affordability and Accessibility.
Safety concerns make the list, but it seems that privacy, comfort, and community are the primary reasons women choose female-only Gyms. It also mentions tailoring classes for females rather than mixed groups, which is also something that makes sense. Training ladies is different from assuming a one-size-fits-all approach.
What does the future hold?
Ladies’ only Gyms are here to stay, and as we see successes in female-only businesses, more Personal Trainers coming into the industry may choose to specialise in this way.
It is possible to conclude that the results were not as cut and dry as first expected and that once we unpicked the noise online and heard from real people, it was not just fear of harassment but a desire to be part of a female lead and female first community. One that provides privacy and comfort and is designed for them rather than a one-size-fits-all. This is the premise for many sports clubs, especially running clubs, where you see a much clearer, more nurturing space. Children are encouraged, and strength and ability are measured personally. There is a much broader acceptance that everyone belongs, but ability will vary along with strength, stamina and age, with people ranging from 8 to 80! It confirms that there is a need to address attitudes in some mixed Gyms in some areas, but it also seems that even with this change, the need for ladies’ Gyms would exist.
Thank you to all the sources and their perspectives and findings. It has helped to provide a balanced view of the need, the desire and the facts about the trends. If you are considering joining a ladies-only Gym, please consider why you would like to join. Don’t let this be because of the negative press surrounding harassment. Most good Gyms will have procedures in place for this, so speak with the staff and members when you review your prospective Gym.
We recommend the following before joining any Gym.
- Go to a taster.
- Read reviews.
- Look to see how many other ladies attend.
- Speak with other ladies and ask questions.
- Check out social media.
- Observe behaviours.
Go and enjoy the Gym. We hope the article has been helpful and provided guidance on why other women consider female-only Gyms. So, make an informed decision based on the various perspectives in this article. For more stories and helpful articles, read more from our blog.