A year or two ago I challenged my local council about the iniquity of women-only sessions in the gym and swimming pool at my local leisure centre. The council’s first defence was that some women feel intimidated by the presence of men, so the sessions gave them the opportunity of exercising when they wouldn’t otherwise.
I objected to this position on the grounds that it inferred women are justified in feeling intimidated, when they’re not. It also has the effect of increasing women’s irrational fears. I said that on the same basis, the council should introduce ‘men only’ sessions to address some men’s irrational fears of women.
The hapless civil servant then changed tack and said that in some religions, it was forbidden for mixed bathing to take place. I asked him to inform me which religion(s) forbid mixed sessions and allow women-only sessions but not men-only sessions. At this point the man cracked – I sensed he was starting to lose the will to live – and he admitted that key government grants were conditional upon the centre offering women-only sessions. Quelle surprise.
I confess I gave up the fight at this point, to my eternal shame, but the British journalist Peter Lloyd is made of sterner stuff, as we’d expect of a ‘Winston’ award winner (one of only three to date). Peter lives in North London and wishes to challenge his local council-run facility, which offers women-only sessions in both the gym and swimming pool. He’s found a sympathetic solicitor who’s willing to charge just £240 ‘to cover everything up to a court appearance – all letters, phone calls, research, representation and administration.’
I appeal to you to contribute to Peter’s ‘fighting fund’. We need victories in areas like this. More specifically, victory will mean councils across the UK either have to cease offering ‘women only’ sessions, or start offering equivalent ‘men only’ sessions. Either way, this would attract considerable media attention and raise public consciousness about one of countless discriminations against men. A great return for just £240. Peter can be contacted at [email protected]. Thank you.
Update 26.2.13 – Peter’s just had an article on this matter published on ‘A Voice for Men’: