Mixed gyms are common in the U.S. but not in other countries, like Uganda. Men in Uganda do not welcome women exercising with them and also object to their wearing exercise clothes. So one female entrepreneur decided to open the country’s first ever Black-owned gym that’s exclusively for women. What inspired her, though, went far beyond exercise!!!
A safe place for women
25-year-old entrepreneur and writer Mildred Apenyo wanted to create a female-only venue where women could come and work out freely without being harassed. Harassed? Yes. Women in Uganda are not welcome in mixed gyms using weight machines or any other workout that men deem “just for men.”
Mildred herself has experienced male harassment that ranged from men telling her to go to aerobics class to one man actually throwing a dumbbell at her. Her new female-only gym, Fit Clique, which she opened in 2014, not only gives women in Uganda a safe place to work out, but women can wear any outfit they are comfortable in.
Still fighting for women’s rights
Women in Uganda often come under attack for what they wear because the country has a Anti-Pornography Act which is often misunderstood. Women have to fight to even wear skirts above the knee. The law is vague, stating that pornography is “any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement.”
However, in Mildred’s gym, women don’t have to worry about backlash from their exercise clothing. They can also take classes for weight training, kickboxing, self-defense and strength training – workouts that many men in Uganda might deem “male-only.”