This International Women’s Day (IWD), we’re celebrating the inspirational women at Third Space who have overcome adversity in a tumultuous year and how they’re raising awareness of equality across the industry. As part of IWD’s #ChooseToChallenge movement, we’re committing to call out inequality and gender bias, while celebrating and seeking out women’s achievements worldwide.
Below, as part of Third Space’s commitment to equality, group exercise instructors Eve Powell, Lucie Cowan and Clare Walters share their experiences to continue and to elevate this conversation this IWD and beyond.
Eve Powell, Lead Instructor
When I initially began my career in fitness, I remember walking into a room of predominantly male trainers, feeling incredibly intimidated. It was almost like I had to prove myself, not just because of comparatively fewer years of experience, but also because of my gender. In hindsight, I suppose this made me gravitate more towards the female trainers and build strong, meaningful relationships with them.
I’ve been at Third Space for three years now and, throughout my progression within the company, I have worked with some absolute POWERHOUSE women! Female trainers, Instructors, Master Trainers, those in management etc & their knowledge and expertise has, without doubt, influenced my career progression. Being surrounded by these women has lit the fire in me to prove myself as a female within the fitness industry. I no longer feel that intimidation. I feel empowered.
Lucie Cowan, Master Trainer
Female equality in fitness, for me, is far more than merely celebrating the incredible sporting prowess and achievements of famous female Olympians. Personally, it’s on a more basic level, it’s women empowering and championing other women in our fitness bubbles, who may be in the same space as us. I feel it’s so common for women to see other like-minded women as competition or comparison, however fitness has space for everyone to be their authentic self. Trying to see other women in fitness as equals, without comparison, is equality which I find more relatable. The quote “supporting another woman’s success wont ever dampen your own” has always stuck with me.
Clare Walters, Mind and Body Master Trainer
It’s quite a common narrative as a woman in fitness of not feeling comfortable in the free weights area in a gym, as it’s often a male dominated environment fuelled by testosterone – and this was definitely the case for me in the first few years of my fitness career, even in gyms I managed.
Yet still, once I had gained confidence, seeing another woman lifting in the weights area would give me a boost, it sounds cliché but it almost felt like solidarity. In my eyes, it all comes down to representation. It’s intimidating to be the only woman in a male-dominated environment, it gives you a feeling of vulnerability. Not only this, when women who lift are mainly only portrayed as ripped machines or bodybuilding competitors, while it proves how powerful women are, it can lead to issues surrounding inclusivity. It doesn’t necessarily make the everyday gym goer feel welcome.
There needs to be more representation of women in fitness who don’t fit the “Wonder Woman” or the svelte yogi moulds, so that it breaks down the barriers to fitness that exist for many women today.