Fitness Club Strives to Get Female Membership

From the beginning of time, working out has been male-dominated. The social attitudes in gyms contribute to women not feeling comfortable or wanting to be in them. When WJ created a fitness club, the same gender division was present. To break this gender gap in fitness, the club is striving to attract more female members this year by doing more gender-neutral fitness activities and by advertising to girls.

COVID has greatly affected and even started many teens’ workout habits. High schoolers didn’t realize the effect or joy working out can have or just the need for it until everybody was stuck at home. Junior club president Ethan Mendes began working out during quarantine and has developed a love for it ever since.

“I needed to find a way to stay fit and productive so I started to work out and use what I have at home, [I used] dumbbells and a pull-up bar to become healthy,” Mendes said.

The WJ fitness and body positivity club meets every Tuesday in the weight room. It has been noticed throughout the weeks how uneven the guy-to-girl ratio is, with only a few girls attending the meetings.

Junior club treasurer Julianna Taj points out why she thinks the club is male-dominated.

“I think that this club mainly appeals to guys because it’s really focused on weight lifting since it’s in the weight room and that’s just a male-dominated thing in general. And I think the amount of guys compared to girls can be intimidating for any girl who may want to join,” Taj said.

Many girls are intimidated by men working out, or just working out in general. The fitness club is trying to fix this divide by attempting to recruit more female members. Sophomore Sarah Difrank, one of the few female members of the club, hopes to convince females that joining could be beneficial for them.

“​​I would talk to my friends about my love for this club to try to get them interested and excited about it,” Difrank said.

Since it is a fitness and body positivity club, and not just for weightlifting, plans are in order to change the scope of the club to appeal to girls as well as guys. Expanding the type of workouts available at club meetings could create a positive change in the club’s environment.

“Later on I was thinking maybe we could get the yoga room at lunch and do workouts and things separately because that might appeal to girls,” Taj said.

Participating in a male-dominated activity as a female can be scary and intimidating, and the fitness club is trying to dive deeper into why these issues exist, and how this fear can be diminished.

“I think more girls would definitely benefit this club because it’s not just supposed to be for guys, and there should be diversity. I wish there were more girls for my sake, too,” Taj said.