Women's Only Gym Section
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In 2017, the student population enrolled in Western University consists of a 57% female population.
Physical exercise has been scientifically proven to be the best medicine to fight chronic diseases and maximize mental health. Western University prides itself as an institution willing to tackle mental health issues throughout the year, mostly emphasized during exam seasons where additional events and services are offered. However, these events, which include complimentary breakfast and therapy dog sessions, involve little physical exercise. Attending and participating in the recreational center is a necessity to help students balance a healthy lifestyle along with their stressful studies.
In 2015, the Canadian government rated physical fitness in three levels: needs improvement, good, and excellent. Statistics showed that 51% of women aged 20-39 fell within the level of needs improvement, in their overall musculoskeletal strength. Female participation in physical exercising is proven to increase significantly in women's-only environments compared to co-ed environments, due to two main reasons: society and religion. Not only are a lot of women more prone to developing self-conscious emotions while conducting physical activities in the presence of men, due to society and its increase of "unattainable and ever-changing standards of beauty", some religious students such as Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women also follow specific dress codes. Such beliefs make it difficult and uncomfortable for these women to exercise in a co-ed environment.
Furthermore, both the University of Toronto and Ryerson University conduct regular women’s only hours in their recreation center. This gives all students an opportunity to equally participate in physical activities, thereby promoting women’s health. Yet, Western University, despite being one of the largest post-secondary institutions in Canada, with over 18,000 female students enrolled and a 20,000-square-foot fitness center, does not provide similar services. Thus, by signing this petition, we can come forth and ask for a private space where more women can use these facilities and exercise with comfort.
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