Ending Gym Intimidation in Werribee

Victorian women are feeling unwelcome and intimated by gyms resulting in them shunning their local fitness centres and missing out on the chance to get healthy and active, new data shows.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos recently joined VicHealth Acting chief executive Dr Lyn Roberts to launch $500,000 in Innovation Challenge: Physical Activity Program grants.

VicHealth’s research shows gyms are particularly daunting for mums and women who are new to health and fitness, with more than 70 per cent of mums and 65 per cent of women new to health and fitness finding them intimidating places to workout.

Other barriers include costs of gym memberships and time pressures. Some 71 per cent of inactive women shunned the gym because of costs, while 62 per cent of mums wished they had more time to get active.

That’s why the Andrews Labor Government and VicHealth are partnering to roll out the Innovation Challenge: Physical Activity Program grants for clever initiatives or programs that offer women more options than just everyday gym memberships and classes.

Grants will be made available for things like exercise programs aimed at culturally diverse women, training for gym staff to provide a more welcoming environment, or initiatives such as women’s-only classes or workout spaces.

The latest grants will help make council owned facilities like pools, gyms and parks more inclusive and welcoming for women. In addition, grants are also available to make traditional sport more inclusive for less active, disadvantaged and culturally diverse Victorians.


Applications for the VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Physical Activity grants open today and close on 18 April. For more information visit: https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/funding/innovation-challenge-physical-activity-grants
Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas

While our local gyms can be great places to get active, too many women and girls find them too intimidating and horribly daunting. We’re changing that, and I encourage our local councils, gyms and sporting organisations to get involved.”


Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos


“We want as many women as possible to get active and enjoy the physical and social benefits it brings. You don’t have to be an elite athlete or AFLW star. “Everyone can take small steps towards a healthier life.”

Quotes attributable to VicHealth Acting CEO Dr Lyn Roberts

“We’ve heard so many stories through our This Girl Can Victoria campaign of women who’ve worked up the courage to try a sport or go to the gym only to never go back because they don’t feel welcomed and included.”


“We know this isn’t what sports organisations and councils want, which is why we’re encouraging them to apply for this funding – we want your clever ideas to help more people to give physical activity a go.”