Debate sparks at RSU is surveying campus for thoughts on women's-only gym time. PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI

Proposition for women’s-only gym time sparks controversy

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By Alvina Siddiqui

During the summer of 2013, The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) began working on a campaign to create women’s-only gym time on campus. A recent survey taken by the RSU has shown that while some are excited about the initiative, others are against the change.

“Giving specific time for women in the gym sets back the women’s rights movement. All it does is further the stereotype that women are weaker than men and need special treatment,” Rachel Zweig, a second-year English student, said.

The campaign was brought to life last November when female-only yoga classes were held in the Student Campus Centre. Having strictly female hours in place is intended to help accommodate women who can’t work out around men for religious reasons and women who are self-conscious.

Whether these hours would take place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) or the Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC) has not yet been decided.

In an RSU Facebook post outlining why women’s only gym time builds campus life, some students reacted negatively. One commenter wrote, “what’s next, women only library hours?” Another wrote, “couldn’t be more against this.”

While some student’s are not in favor of the campaign, others are supportive.

“I’m actually all for it,” Muqdas Shabir, a third-year biology student, said. “I think it’s pretty good, especially for the girls that are a little conscious about the way they look.”

The surveys that were distributed around campus regarding the issue have received over a thousand responses. According to RSU president Melissa Palermo, over two-thirds have reacted positively to the idea.

“The biggest thing is to make our campus more accessible and inclusive,” Palermo said.

She added that everyone pays for the same services, but some feel like they are unable to use them.

“The intention is not to take away any options but to add options,” Palermo said.



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