Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion ❘ UA needs a women’s-only gym

CW / Natalie Teat
The Student Rec Center

Across college campuses, students can be found flocking to gyms to avoid a common enemy, the “freshman 15.” Here on the University’s campus, there are only two places to turn to: the Student Recreation Center and the Robert E. Witt Activity Center. The high demand can create an extremely crowded environment for those just wishing to get a good workout in. 

For many people, it can be uncomfortable to exercise in a place where it feels like a multitude of eyes are watching. This can be especially true for women, who often find themselves representing a minority in a gym setting. 

The machines are always being used by the guys, and I just don’t feel comfortable using them,” said Monica Lopez, a freshman majoring in chemistry. She also said she “would go more often to the gym” if there were a women’s-only space because she “could use machines or dumbbells while being comfortable.” 

What if there weren’t just equipment designated for women only, but an actual space to go to for a safe and comfortable workout? What if there were a new gym, or even just a studio, where women could go without feeling stared at or harassed? 

A survey from FitRated found that 71% of 890 women had experienced “an interaction at the gym that made them uncomfortable.”

While some women may feel uncomfortable under the roaming eyes of others, others have also experienced serious harassment. This may be preventing them from attending a place they should have comfortable access to. 

These situations are a common problem among women everywhere who attend gyms. An effective solution is simply providing a space where women can exercise away from the eyes of men, a space for women to find community that is often difficult to find in gyms. 

“I would love and appreciate an all-women’s gym,” Erica White, a freshman majoring in biology, said. “I feel that it would be more of a safe space and would allow me to feel more safe and confident when working out.”

A women’s-only space is a popular desire among college students as well as many women around the world. According to a survey presented in The London Economic, out of 400 women, “73 percent of respondents think women-only gyms are needed in the UK for women to feel safe when exercising.”

Having a women-only gym at the University would encourage those who aren’t regular gym goers to attend more often. It would allow them the chance to work out in an environment that makes them feel comfortable and secure. 

It seems unfair that a feeling of discomfort may be the only thing keeping some women from a good workout. It’s a problem that can be solved not just here, but at colleges across the nation. 

All it takes is providing a safe space for women to exercise here on campus and taking a first step that could inspire other institutes to follow suit and provide this opportunity as well.

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