57% of women feel they have received inappropriate looks while in a gym settingLouis Ashworth

This evening (04/05), the Cambridge Students’ Union’s (SU) Student Council discussed a proposal to work towards implementing gym hours for women and non-binary students only across the Collegiate University.

If passed at the next meeting in two weeks time, the proposal will mandate the SU to lobby for the introduction of gym hours for women and non-binary students at centralised sports facilities, as well as working with JCRs and MCRs to introduce these hours at College gyms.

Similar schemes have already been implemented by several Colleges, including Peterhouse, Trinity, and Fitzwilliam Colleges, which have been met with approval and calls for similar policies to be implemented elsewhere in the University.

Alongside this, the SU will campaign against gendered discrimination in sport and remove barriers to female and non-binary students’ participation in sports in two ways: firstly, by working with sporting departments to include sports clubs in SU Consent training, and secondly by celebrating the sporting achievements of women at Cambridge.

The motion was proposed by the SU’s Women’s Officer, Chloe Newbold, who emphasised that this will “create a vital safe space for those who would otherwise not enter college gyms for religious reasons or for fear of harassment.”


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Discussing the motion during the meeting, Newbold highlighted that feelings of discomfort or judgement, or being unable to enter shared spaces for religious reasons are common barriers to participation. They added that, if implemented, “gender [will not] be policed.”

Female participation in University-level sport is almost 15% lower than that of men, with 48.6% and 64.7% respectively participating in physical activity at least once a week.

The documents accompanying the proposal noted that approximately 57% of women feel they have received inappropriate looks while in gyms, according to research by MindBody. Subsequently, the notes continue, these “gym hours are essential as part of a wider long term campaign to tackle the underlying social causes of harassment and discrimination within public spaces.”