McGill split over women-only gym sessions
Published Thursday, March 5, 2015 6:42PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 10, 2015 9:34AM EDT
A request to enshrine women-only hours at the McGill University fitness centre is meeting stiff resistance.
Law students Soumia Allalou and Raymond Grafton brought the request to the McGill University Students Society with the support of the VP of University Affairs.
The initiative was not sure to work out, however as students launched an online petition that has attracted over 500 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
Allalou said that her initiative to dedicate three weekly one-hour women-only sessions per week was inspired by her religious beliefs as a Muslim but she said that all women would benefit.
“A couple of women messaged me and expressed that they would like to see women's hours implemented. They feel intimidated using the weights section especially. They've been harassed, looked at, watched,” she told CTV Montreal Thursday.
McGill athletics brass said that they might be open to the request.
“We have women-only hours at the pool now. We've had them for almost 10 years and it was at the request of a student who came in and wanted to institute those hours in the pool and we were able to accommodate that,” said Jill Barker of McGill Athletics.
School authorities said that they are going to research the demand for such a dedicated gender-exclusive time.
Some opponents of the project articulated their objections in notes accompanying the petition.
“If you can't work out with other people around you, same-sex or otherwise, hire a personal trainer to come to your home,” wrote one.
“Do not bring our society back to the 1950's with religion and gender segregation, it was hard enough to move forward with Christianity holding us back, this is unacceptable,” wrote another.