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Students create initiative for women-only hours at McGill fitness centre

Soumia Allalou and Raymond Grafton, two McGill Law students, are in discussions with the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) to seek endorsement for the implementation of women-only hours at the McGill Fitness Centre. 

Allalou started the initiative after realizing that the school did not offer women-only gym hours, unlike the University of Toronto, where she previously studied.

“Recently, I wanted to get back into shape and inquired at the McGill Athletics facility when their women’s hours were,” Allalou said. “Due to religious reasons, I can only work out in a women-only environment [….] This was upsetting to me because ultimately, I am subsidizing a service that I cannot use.”

According to Allalou, women-only gym hours encourage women who aren’t as likely to use the gym facilities to go to the fitness centre. 

“Women who do not feel comfortable using the gym because they are watched or harassed in a mixed setting can also feel more comfortable and exercise more freely [in a woman-only setting],” Allalou explained. “Women who are restricted due to religious reasons would be able to be included and use the gym.”

 According to SSMU Vice-President University Affairs Claire Stewart-Kanigan, the implementation of women-only gym hours would follow the steps of other facilities in the centre who have recognised a need for more inclusion.

“Other services in [McGill Athletics] have acknowledged the need for accommodation of particular needs to facilitate service access—such as women’s swim hours at the pool—and it is fair to extend this accommodation to other services, namely access to a fitness centre,” she said.

Allalou says she has received support for the initiative from male and female students alike. She is also conducting a survey to gather students’ opinions about offering women-only gym hours and gathering data on other Canadian universities that currently offer women-only gym hours, including the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Ryerson University, York University, and Queen’s University.

“Based on my surveys, I hope that the SSMU will pass a mandate endorsing this campaign,” she explained. “I then hope to schedule a meeting with McGill’s Athletics Facility to discuss how we could go about implementing our suggestion.”

Stewart-Kanigan said she is also considering bringing the idea of women-only gym hours to the undergraduate student body. 

“I have also offered the [students] the option of working with them to bring a motion of endorsement of this initiative to SSMU Council, allowing councillors to consult their constituents prior to voting,” she said. 

Victoria Greco, second-year Education student and staff member at the McGill gym also claimed that intimidation and discomfort are two factors that influence women’s aversion in joining  the fitness centre.  

“I know more women would use more of the equipment,” Greco stated.  “For example, the weight section is almost always occupied by males. So [females] might be less intimidated to go to the weight section and lift [if a women-only setting existed].”

Jared Ferguson, a first year master’s student in Exercise Physiology and McGill gym staff member, expressed similar sentiments.

“I think it would be pretty popular,” Ferguson stated. “I think it would be a good idea to get more girls involved who might not come regularly just for that reason. If there was a way that they could have a block of time where there was women only [… maybe] you would see a more even spread during regular hours.”

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  1. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. There are a myriad of women only gyms available in the McGill Ghetto area if you want that sort of thing. To make McGill gym restricted to men for any amount of time is just stupid and discriminatory.

  2. Not acceptable-

    By logical extension (given this is based on presumed** male intimidation of women in the gym), should we also have “people-who-are-uncomfortable-with-their-bodies” times in the gym? Those people feel self-conscious too. What about gay-exclusive hours? I often feel that working out in a heteronormative environment where I have to watch male-female couples kissing/ feel straight men judge me for my sexuality in a testosterone-soaked enivroment etc makes me quite uncomfortable: should I be accommodated?

    While we’re on this, please name a single recorded instance of harassment from a male to a female in the gym. I go there every single day and have never seen an even remotely questionable occurrence.

    At it’s core, this limitation is religiously motivated. Those wishing to impose their religious values on others should be willing to put their money where their mouth is and pay for a membership at a ladies-only gym, there are many in close proximity that would be happy for your business.

    • Harris Innes-Miller


    • Fellow Angry Dude Bro

      I agree women should keep a lengthy logged journal every time a man makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Each instance should have at least two unbiased, rational witnesses signing off it. Then we’ll know when they are telling the truth and they can no longer lie to try to violently install a matriarchal society where men are kept in pens and only valued for their semen!

    • CreativePerson

      I have bad news for everyone who is opposed to female-only gym hours: This initiative will likely be implemented soon. And once the female-only hours are approved, it will be practically impossible to change that. However, I am going to explain an easy way to defeat this this initiative, but you must act immediately.

      First, you should realize that:

      a) Claire Stewart-Kanigan favors the implementation of women-only gym hours. She is Vice-President University Affairs in the SSMU, according to the article.

      b) The McGill Tribune editorial staff also seem to support the initiative.

      c) Allalou, the initiator, says “She is also conducting a survey to gather students’ opinions”. That survey will probably function as a petition. Thus, while the majority of students are merely criticizing the initiative on Facebook, the minority who support it are already well-organized and taking steps to have female-only hours implemented.

      d) Most students ignore the Student Society Legislative Council, even though that body has the power to impose their decisions on you against your will.

      That’s the bad news. Now for the good news. Here are some easy steps you can take to fight this. You can probably complete these simple steps in 20 minutes or less. And yes, you can win:

      1. Recognize that if you don’t take action, probably nobody else will. This is due to a phenomenon known as “diffusion of responsibility”, whereby everybody assumes that someone else will take care of a given problem, so nobody does anything. Therefore, if you feel strongly opposed to female-only gym access, then you should take the initiative yourself immediately.

      2. Go to http://you.leadnow.ca/ and start your own online petition. Fill in the fields something like this:

      Petition Title: We Oppose Female-Only Access to the McGill Gym and Fitness Room

      Whom are you petitioning? The SSMU and the McGill University Administration.

      What do you want them to do? Here, write a simple statement such as this:

      “We the undersigned believe that the McGill gym and the fitness room should be available to the entire McGill community at all hours that the facility is open. We are opposed to having certain hours reserved for the exclusive use of females, as that would unfairly inconvenience everyone else.”

      Why is this important? Keep it simple, like this:

      “All McGill students should be treated equally. Special rights should not be granted to women. If some women refuse to use the gym simply because men are present or because they feel embarrassed, that is their own choice for which they are solely responsible. They should not be allowed exclusive access to the gym, as that would unfairly inconvenience all the other students.”

      3. Click Save. On the next page, join LeadNow.ca, or login. LeadNow is an excellent organization with outstanding integrity.

      4. On the next few pages, set the various options and launch your campaign as instructed. It’s easy.

      5. Announce your campaign here:


      In your initial post, do not link to your survey. Just announce it. Instead, after your post appears, comment on it to provide the link. Invite your friends to sign. And ask them to invite their own friends.

      If more than one person starts a petition, no harm. That would just show the strength of feeling about this issue.

      6. Several days prior to their next meeting on March 26, send the petition result to the Legislative Council. Also send it to the McGill University President, the Athletic Facility administration, and anyone else who might influence the decision. For reference, here is the schedule of Legislative Council meetings:


      7. Optional: Visit the following page and read the comments below the article, so you can be prepared to discuss it with your friends:


      8. Feel proud that you have exercised your right to free speech and political action. And be thankful that you live in Canada.

      • Joshua Chin

        I think this is an issue that should be discussed on the SSMU Legislative Council. You can get in touch with the SSMU councillor representing you (or with any other SSMU councillor for that matter) and we can perhaps cede speaking time to you to present your point when a motion re: endorsement of women-only hours gets presented to council (likely either March 12 or 26, when the Legislative Council sits). I personally prefer to see both sides of the debate being presented before being voted on. Any motion presented to council has to be passed by a majority of councillors. -J. Chin, Medicine Representative to SSMU

        • CreativePerson

          Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, most people don’t have time to attend SSMU meetings. So the only people who will attend will likely be the supporters of this initiative.

          SSMU should not approve this initiative because it will deprive men of Fitness Centre time that they pay for.

          • I totally understand when students say they don’t have time to attend the SSMU meetings. Alternatively, I suggest e-mailing Claire (VP University Affairs) and/or the SSMU councilor(s) representing your faculty/school to let them know of your position on this. SSMU councilors are generally receptive to their constituents’ concerns. As a last resort, if you haven’t received a response from them, I am always available e.g. to read a statement on your behalf on SSMU council. -J. Chin, Medicine Representative to SSMU

            Contact link: http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/about-us/our-team/representatives/

      • New and improved petition (the old one disappeared without explanation): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vEWdw6WRU0rJ-uwjNMIB-jo0-3BRYNr_vXU9946_AN0/viewform

      • I wanted to sign the petition, but the new site is for people with mcgill email addresses only… 🙁

    • canadianman

      I fully support that idea, I quit going to the university gym because of the dirty glares I got from females. It’s hard if you’re not a fit 20 year old.

  3. David McCusty

    what is this argument 1) you aren’t paying for the fitness centre itself, that’s an extra fee and 2) i feel like my athletics fee goes to paying for varsity equipment (like their weightroom, team rooms, etc.) that i am not allowed access to by the university, not that my own religious beliefs are preventing me from using. furthermore, the pool does have women’s only hours… why are you trying to change a system without bothering to understand it?

    our gym is already overcrowded. if you really want a women’s only environment, then you should join a women’s only gym. we should be reasonably accommodating of other’s desires, but when what you’re asking is unreasonable (i.e. kicking men out of the mcgill gym…) you need to accommodate yourself and join a women’s only gym

    also does anyone remember this because you could like change a few words and have the same story haha http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/janette-bertrand-warns-rich-mcgill-students-threaten-quebec-women-s-rights-1.1752740

    • Umm, the article already says the pool has female only hours. It says that should be extended to the fitness centre -> “Other services in [McGill Athletics] have acknowledged the need for accommodation of particular needs to facilitate service access—such as women’s swim hours at the pool—and it is fair to extend this accommodation to other services, namely access to a fitness centre,”

      Also if an hour of women only time at the pool didn’t completely destroy everything I’m sure having one hour for just women at the fitness centre wouldn’t be that bad either.

  4. AngryDudeBro

    What’s next female LOCKER ROOMS??? absurd that women would want to feel ‘comfortable’ and ‘safe’ in a space that their fees as students pay for. I’m done with this university and it’s attempts at ‘inclusion’ and ‘tolerance.’

    • Stirring the pot

      Student fees do not pay for access to the fitness center, you must pay for that separately on a semesterly or yearly basis at the client office.

    • Matthew LeGrand

      This is a situation where someone is suggesting ONLY female locker rooms. There is no allotted “Men only hours” simply “Women only hours” and we are expected to pay the same price
      Listen as a smaller guy I also felt intimidated and feel uncomfortable when I started working out at the gym beside these huge hulking guys. Once you commit to the gym and become a regular you stop feeling insecure and proud of your body.

    • lol You’re right oh the HUMANITY!
      It’s like some people actually have gasp EMPATHY for systematically oppressed groups. How dare they?!?!?
      Seriously though, it’s amazing how insecure some people get when actual efforts are made to diminish oppression if only for an hour or two…Early education to boys and men in how to teach not to rape is important, giving women safe spaces in the meantime while we work in reversing patriarchal gender roles is also important. I don’t think we need to focus solely on one or the other.

  5. Can we get hours where only people who are more than 20% body fat can go into the gym? I feel scrutinized by the more fit muscular people there and I don’t like it. I don’t like being subjected to that standard of beauty. I know 95% of those there don’t even notice me and only care about working out, but that’s how I feel. It’s not comfortable. Everything is supposed to be super comfortable for me. I should not have to learn to deal with anything which ultimately is in my own head. Why should I? Society should adjust to accommodate me. And I know that this will encourage me going to the gym. Because everything else I’m gonna do there is about being comfortable.

  6. Shane Caldwell

    The amount of entitled anger here is a great indication of why this is a good and necessary initiative.

    • stirring the pot

      A policy which would affect the entire university, either passively or actively, that is met with controversy is not ‘entitlement’, its difference of opinion. This is the basis of political discourse. The idea that one group feels that there should be no segregated and gendered hours does not mean that they feel “entitled” to bother or look at / make women uncomfortable – its that they feel this proposal would be unjust as to their abilities to use the facilities they too provide for.

      • Denying women of safe spaces IS entitlement. Stop twisting language.

        • Should we institute trans only hours as well, since trans people are historically disadvantaged and may be prone to more stares in the gym than women or men?

          Also do you even use the gym, Rachel?

        • stirring the pot

          I am not twisting language and not having women only hours is not the denial of safe space.

        • Buzzwords are garbage

          Not everyone who disagrees with you is “twisting language”. How is this comment incorrect. Stop using buzzwords.

        • So the gym is an “unsafe place” now??? That’s crap… this is about religious restrictions on women and giving them a place to go workout that will abide by the rules that are placed on them by said religion.

    • Yep.

  7. CreativePerson

    Why is the Tribune supporting this regressive proposal? See their editorial here:


    I have posted a response below that editorial. If you like it, please “Like” it.


    • Ok honey, you’re racist. If you really think that the system in Canada provides equality and safety for women, then you’re just ridiculously naive. Women feeling uncomfortable because of men has nothing to do with your ethnic/religious background. A lot of women might be comfortable using the gym together with men, a lot of women might be used to men staring at their ass while they work out and just ignore it, but guess what. Some of us aren’t.

      Harassment of women is not a middle eastern issue, it is an issue that is unfortunately present worldwide. You don’t get to tell women to adapt and just start feeling comfortable because you want them to. You don’t get to tell women to just get over themselves. You don’t get to tell women that they can’t go to McGill and get a great education because you don’t agree with their beliefs. None of the women in this article are asking for segregated classes, but just for a small amount of time where they can use the gym, just like everyone else. That is not inequality, it is enabling women to have equal access to facilities that men can use anyway. It is giving women a chance to occupy space that is usually dominated by men.

      Also, stating that “our culture is far superior” to the middle east is really racist, and very misinformed. The 1 in 4 women who are sexually assaulted, and the thousands of missing of murdered indigenous women in Canada will tell you how scary it still is to be a woman in this society.

      • CreativePerson


        Yes indeed, some women do get harassed, here and worldwide. Even men get harassed, sometimes with horrible consequences. For example, just a few years ago, a male university student was murdered — in Montreal — in a very gruesome way by a sexually disturbed person. Unfortunately, everyone must take precautions for their own safety.

        It is indeed a pity that you feel so uncomfortable living in Canada. But sexual segregation is not the solution, as it only fosters abusive attitudes toward women, with tragic results such as these:

        Pakistan Acid Attack Victim Fakhra Yunus Commits Suicide http://abcnews.go.com/Health/victim-acid-attack-commits-suicide/story?id=16011971

        Female genital mutilation in Islamic countries : http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

        Pregnant woman stoned to death in Pakistan

        Pakistan girl stoned to death by brother for having affair

        Four more points:

        1. Obviously, women are treated much better in Canada than they are in the Middle East. So, while we should indeed welcome foreign students to Canada, as we do, we should not adopt the dysfunctional aspects of their culture, as that could undermine the sexual equality that has taken so long to achieve.

        2. It is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are requesting “equal access” to the Fitness Centre. In fact, what you are demanding is exclusive access, which is a special privilege.

        3. As long as the Fitness Centre remains co-ed, you can exercise there together with your male friends, which should help you feel safer.

        4. I suggest you read the international news more often, to keep yourself better informed. An added benefit is that you will feel more fortunate to live in Canada. You may also learn to appreciate how our enlightened culture supports the equality of men and women.

        Canada is not perfect, but it is certainly one of the best places in the world to live — for men and women.

        Thank you for your input.

        • Ok, I’m sure you do know how to use google, so I suggest you look at sexual abuse of and violence against women in Canada. There are literally more than 2000 Indigenous women missing or were murdered at this moment, and no one is doing anything. Is that what “one of the world’s best places to live” calls a safe space for women? You should really try to gain more knowledge on the subject before you engage in discussions, because you seem incredibly ignorant right now.

          To your points.

          1. “Obviously, women are treated much better in Canada than they are in the Middle East.” No. That statement is simply wrong and racist. The situation in parts of the Middle East is more difficult due to situations of war and poverty, which reinforce gender stereotypes (and again, the Middle East is not a homogenous entity, please stop referring to it as such, it is insulting). These unrests are, however, mostly caused by constant military input of Western nations such as Canada and the U.S.. So you should really question yourself on what you base your nationalist pride on. Furthermore, I’m not sure what you claim Canadian culture to be. Is it the Indigenous culture that was largely erased and is still oppressed by colonialism? Or is it the ever-changing mix of immigrant cultures to North-America. Because if it is the latter, than you are being exclusive by thinking that you and your ancestors have the right to steal this land, but then you don’t even want to share it.

          2. No, it is not disingenuous. Canada is not an equal space for men and women, and if you keep insisting that it is, than you’re talking over the experiences of thousands of women who live in a different reality than you do. If you don’t have to deal with the inequalities, of course you won’t immediately see them. That is why you listen to people and try to understand their perspectives. The access to the gym is not equal now, because many women cannot access it, or do not feel comfortable doing so based on personal or historic experiences, which are still very real. Hence there exists an inequality, which could potentially be fixed by providing more to a disadvantaged group. You wouldn’t say that food stamps are unfair because not everyone can have them.

          3. That is the most patriarchal statement I’ve ever read, and I truly disgusts me. No woman should have to rely on a man in order to have access to a public space. You are victim blaming if you say that me feeling uncomfortable is my fault for not bringing men, rather than the fault of other individuals who stare at my ass.

          4. I suggest you read the international news more often, so you’d understand the power relations that exist in this world that enable you to keep your privilege here at the expense of the suffering of other people. Your racist comments and total lack of understanding of the multitude of Middle Eastern cultures shows how little you know on the subject, and it is frankly embarrassing. Your “enlightened Canadian culture” is built on colonialism, white-supremacy, misogyny, racism, and ongoing oppression of minority groups within Canada (Indigenous people, people of color, immigrant workers, religious minorities), as well as people abroad, such as people who suffer due to wars for oil, or people who have to live next to all the mines that give Canadians their wealth.

          Sure, Canada is not the only country in the world that is really screwed up. It is still far from being open, tolerant, and progressive, and it is mostly because of people like you, who choose to ignore a problem when it stares them right into the face, because of some weird notions of national pride. If you’d really love your country, you’d recognize its fault and actively work to eliminate them, rather then try to compare it with other places and sit on your butt because it is not as bad as it could be.

          • okay… so women have it bad everywhere… is the solution to hide themselves from men? I don’t think it is!

          • Hiding and asking for a safe space are different things. This is university, and safe spaces are implemented in other parts of campus too.
            This is not about hiding, it is about being able to use the same infrastructure as many men can, without having to step into a very male-dominated environment that is daunting to many women, myself included. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in the weight section of this particular gym, but it’s pretty much only men, and there are a huge amount of regions why women would feel more comfortable having a more female-positive environment. Those reasons might not be yours, but that does not make them invalid.

          • I do see your point… I get concerned at where it will go… in my area, not only are they implementing women’s only swim times, but they purchases special blinds to cover the area and a 15 minute window before and after the class to clear men out of the area… then, no male staff are to be working during that time. And it’s those measures then send off alarms for me.

          • I mean, the actual implementation is not discussed yet, and I’m sure that would be up to debate and the concerns of students would be taken into account.
            What was throwing me off this whole discussion was how opposed so many people are without even knowing if a larger groups of people at McGill feel the need for this or not. Just staying open-minded to other people’s perspectives does not mean that all the people who are concerned with this cannot voice their opinions, or be relevant in the way this might be implemented.

          • I see that there are various “No-go” zones all over Europe now… and I fear that starting with small things like segregated hours in public spaces (not comparable to a bathroom as some have argued), supporting face-veils while taking an oath to become a citizen, actually using feminism to support ideologies that originated in the suppression of women (been reading the Koran – highly recommended for the enlightenment on this subject), etc… it all starts somewhere. Call me paranoid, but I bet that they said the same thing over in Europe before sh!t hit the fan. 🙁 I’m just wondering where it’s okay to have boundaries.

      • Ragnar Dragonfyre

        Uh… do you even know what racism is?

        This isn’t about race or sex. It’s about religion.

        You can’t be racist against a religion or sex by the very definition of the word.

        • Creative person talked about the Middle East as one heterogenous entity, without consideration of religion and gender, which is what made it racist. Furthermore, Islamophobia, for example, is not only defined as fear of Islam, but also as prejudice against people who might be Muslim based on their appearance, which is a racist assumption.

          So, yes, unlike you I do understand that talking about an entire part of the world as being inferior is racist.

          • Ragnar Dragonfyre

            Ah, outrage culture. Things are so boring at home you have to find things to be offended by, hm?

            People generalize all the time. It’s not a racist action. It’s ignorance, not racism. The North American education system doesn’t really teach much about the Middle East so an individual would have to acquire that knowledge on his/her own limited time.

            Instead of simply slamming him as a racist, why not enlighten us with your vast knowledge of the Middle East and educate us which countries discriminate against women and which do not? Then, when you’re done quantify the number of Middle East countries that have acceptable human rights vs. those that do not. Perhaps you’ll realize he was justified in generalizing.

          • Generalizing is ignorance, but pairing it with comments about the superiority of one culture over others is racism. It’s not that hard to understand.

            Also, please don’t put words in my mouth. I stated that violence against women is an issue everywhere, including countries in the Middle East and Canada. My argument was not that the Middle East is perfect, but rather that critiquing others for their human rights violations without acknowledging the ones that happen right here, is not only discrimination but also hypocrisy.

            If you would like more information about women’s rights in the Middle East, I suggest you buy yourself a book about that. I suggest “Women and gender in Islam” by Leila Ahmed, or Minky Worden’s “The Unfinished Revolution.” You could also just type your subject of interest into google scholar and access the incredibly large amount of resources on things such as feminism and nationalism. I’m sure you can also find a map somewhere with names of Middle Eastern countries, which will allow you to make your search more specific!

          • I find all these arguments are fine for gaining knowledge, but it’s leading away from the fact that supporting a backwards ideology is a major red flag… instead of hiding themselves, women should be out there proud, strong, and free. If I wanted to use weights in that section of the gym, I’d approach the guys and tell them that I want a turn! Hiding and seclusion is not the answer – all it does is feed insecurities and keep women timid IMO. Arguments in history, culture, who is better then who, and who did what to who is fluff… it’s not addressing the issue at hand… segregation for religious reasons is a step backwards in my opinion… As I said in another comment above – I wonder when we’ll see the “no go” zones in our communities like in the States and all over Europe.

          • Since we’re recommending literature, I’d like to recommend books by Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Very enlightening and will reinforce what CreativePerson is trying to say. Hate and prejudice truly suck… but when it looks like a duck and acts like a duck – calling it a cat doesn’t change that it’s a duck.

      • @Gael
        This. So. Much. This. It’s amazing how privilege shelters them to it all. Systemic and endemic misogyny is not just a middle east thing ffs…Oh, and the male victim persecution complex…just wow It’s like these people are so insecure and inadequate that their men’s ego compels them to prove they are no1 in everything including in victimization.

    • “If we accommodate one religious group or sexual orientation that wants exclusive access to the gym, then we must accommodate each and every group that requests exclusive access.”
      No, because not every groups is historically disadvantaged or oppressed. Same reasons women-only gyms or same-sex bars already exists and are perfectly legal but we don’t have (nor should we have) straight, white, men or cisgendered-only clubs because the dominant group don’t need more privilege than they already have nor do they get to dictate how or when subjugated and marginalized minorities get to have safe spaces. Iow, you’re making a false equivalency basically.

      • William-Arthus

        yes they are perfectly legal,. There is no reason to force them into the McGill community though, we operate as a safe space and tolerant community for all. Segregated spaces based on the historical oppression because they reaffirm these historical grievances and establish borders and new privileges between groups. Thus they do more harm than good. I.E. we don’t need a gay bar on campus because, as a Gay man, Gerts and other campus bars are perfectly tolerant and safe for people of all walks of life.

      • It doesn’t matter who was historically disadvantaged or oppressed. What matters is what’s happening now. We don’t need to go back in history and right every single past wrong.
        This view is what leads to SJW’s hating all white people, especially males. The current generation has nothing to do with the sins of the past.

    • I totally agree with your post – and like myself, I see that people keep arguing with you and picking it apart. I just wanted to say that I agree with you whole-heartedly… I’ve been reading up the Koran and the hadiths, I’ve been talking to ex-Muslim women, and I have been following Wafa Sultan. Everything I’m taking in makes me very concerned and scared. Keep in mind that the fact that any of us can debate on this issue is in thanks to all the people that fought for our rights and our freedoms… men and women! We take it all for granted.

      Supporting inclusion with seclusion is a major red-flag in my opinion. Our constitution grants religious freedom, but I do believe that it’s intent was to have freedom FROM religion and freedom from ideas as well. I don’t have all the answers, and yes – there are tons of other examples of misogyny – however, supporting religious idealism derived from the oppression of women doesn’t feel like the answer either. And no matter how you sugar-coat it… it is oppression of women when she feels forced to hide herself from men… and in this case, it’s not just about feeling uncomfortable, they need to cover themselves completely… look up (“burkini”).

      I hate gyms too… so I went to a women’s only gym – when I didn’t want to pay for my fitness anymore, I started working out at home with fitness DVDs and my own equipment… it’s great!

  8. Jimmy Rustled

    I’m really miffed about this. My daily schedule is extremely tight, and I have very limited hours each day to go to the gym, which is an integral part of my schedule. Chances are if they do implement this it will play a direct part in pushing me out and excluding me from using the fitness facilities. I have just as much right as Ms. Allalou to be there, and if she expects to limit my rights to go to the public gym because of her religious restrictions, then she can expect a fight.
    For those of you that actually read the article, you’d realize that this is not really about women feeling uncomfortable in the gym, but rather about Ms. Allalou’s personal religious creeds. I’m the furthest thing from an activist, but I will gladly give my time and throw my full weight into protesting this if it comes to pass.

  9. Social justice fucktard

    What the fuck. Like i understand women-only gyms cause they pay for that shit, but if both genders pay the same fee and men have reduced hours, that is just fucking dumb.

  10. You can’t fix an exclusion problem of the past by excluding the oppressor from the services now.

  11. What the actual fuck
    McGill can forget about any alumni donating now

  12. canadianman

    This is getting ridiculous. Women have been aloud into what were once male only establishments for decades. Why is it now OK to have female only everything? Discrimination is discrimination and sexism is sexism. Forget the single gender gym times and grow up, you are going to have males around you for the rest of your life.

  13. I’m disappointed this is even being discussed. This is not the 1950s. We don’t need separate doors to the schools for each gender, and we don’t need separate gym hours.

  14. How many years did women fight to have access to Men Only clubs? Like always, what’s good for the gander is NOT good for the goose. Inclusivity – not exclusivity.

    • I have no problem with men only clubs or women only clubs… back in the day, it was different because women were not permitted to do what men could do; they were called down if they tried to do so many things; but now, if private establishments want to have gender segregated establishments – all the power to them… because now – both women and men are encouraged to be who they want to be. But this is different… this is taking a public area and turning it into a segregated area for a backwards ideology that goes against what women (and many men) fought for in our secular country. So I get what you’re saying… but this is not about the gander… this is about another party all together fighting to have their oppressive values re-introduced into our society…

  15. Kevin's Kandle

    Let her join Curves.

    Meanwhile bring back taverns!

    What’s next? Women only buses and metro cars?

    • I sure hope not…as a woman, I believe that equal rights for all INCLUDES men. Feminism is all about men too. I think this is a step backwards – women should not feel intimidated by men; nor should men always be thought of as leering rapists. It’s the wrong message – you can’t find female oppression by oppressing or putting down men… it’s about education and rethinking roles and how we can compliment each other – not compete with each other.

  16. religion not an excuse

    I’m a woman and I agree completely with “Not acceptable”. I also question the fact that her religion states that she is forbidden to exercise in the same room as men.

  17. I’m tired of being treated like a potential rapist merely because I’m male.

    • Many women (and men) are tired in being treated as potential victims of rapists. Guess everyone with empathy and with a desire to change things (which sucks and not just for women) should all fight to end rape culture then.

      • CreativePerson

        Sexual violence is always a great tragedy. And it’s unfortunate that you feel at risk of being raped on the McGill campus. But are you really living in a “rape culture”?

        Have you looked into the actual number of women who have been raped in or near the gym recently? A factual statistic would be of great interest to everyone. And knowing the actual facts might help you feel more comfortable.

        Also keep in mind that a co-ed gym enables you to exercise together with your trusted male and female friends, which should help you feel safer.

        • No. If I as a women do not feel comfortable, I will not rely on my “trusted male friends.” What kind of patriarchal bs is that? I want a space where I can feel comfortable by myself.

          • Not to sound crass, but that is your problem. If you feel insecure, that is a mental issue that you need to work on… I feel insecure at the beach, but I just suck it up, and go. I don’t demand that the beach be segregated. Women will never learn to be truly independent if we hide… we are much more powerful then this.

  18. CreativePerson

    Unfortunately, the petition was hacked on Thursday night, and many of the 822 signatures were lost, according to a post on reddit. So to be sure, people who signed before should sign again. The new more secure petition is here:


    Please tell your friends.

  19. no reggression

    This is regressive segregation, we must fight for less judgement and more tolerance and empathy. this detracts from the goal of being more inclusive rather than less. If McGill adopts this position it is a detriment to campus quality of life by precedent. Mr Allalou must keep her religious concepts and choices out of the public sphere and never push them into the lives of her peers.

  20. Soumia Allalou would like McGill to take a step backwards to the past. Well Ms. Allalou join a women’s only gym. But Wait! What if a woman starts to look you over because she is GAY! OMG! No surprise she supports Free Gaza.

  21. don’t do this on the basis of ANY RELIGION, but do it on the basis of yes, there is often a discomfort of working out in a mixed atmosphere because, yes, some men are pigs but if you give in to religions like York U. did, then the next thing we’ll all be wearing head scarves.

  22. UofT->McGill

    Wehn she compares McGill to UofT she fails to realize that UofT just has vastly more space than McGill does. On the ST.G campus alone there are three massive athletics centers: Hart House gym, the Varsity fitness center and the Athletic center where people could “make room for issues like this”. Not to mention there are various fitness centers in each dorm and for each consortium college, i.e. St. Mikes…etc.Needless McGill has less space, and frankly isn’t likely to expand in any near future.

  23. I am fed up of this reasonable accommodation. Who would look at those hijab wearers in any case – they’re all smelly. They can stay home and exercise and pray.

  24. supporting inclusion with seclusion… interesting… :/

  25. “This was upsetting to me because ultimately, I am subsidizing a service that I cannot use”

    Women only hours means hours the men are subsidizing but cannot use… And she’s going to be a lawyer?

    This is sexist. Shame on UofT for this and shame on McGill for the pool. It’s not equal when one side gets priority.

    Note: There are women’s only gyms she can join without putting anyone out. Also, there are no male only gyms so the guys don’t have the choice.

  26. FelixElGato

    I havent seen any intimidation or harrasment in the Gym. Also, I dont like these division politics for accommodating religions. Why do you want to divide McGill gym’s community? What you need to do is learn to live in this society. And the gym is always crowded, even men can’t use a particular weight every time.

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