Gender equality in fitness: industry remains male dominated

Global online survey by Sport Alliance and WIFA on gender equality in the fitness industry.

Gender equality study

In this article, you'll learn:

  • Where things stand with equality in the fitness industry
  • How the data can help make an impact
  • Specific recommendations for you to take action

Gender equality: Collecting data to attract more attention

So far, there are hardly any facts and figures worth mentioning on gender equality in the fitness industry. That’s why Sport Alliance GmbH from Hamburg (the umbrella company of Magicline) and the Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) have joined forces to find out what the status of gender equality in the fitness industry is. It can be said: there is still work to be done.

To collect the data, nearly 700 fitness industry employees worldwide were surveyed between September 2021 and March 2022. Although the figures are not representative of the industry, they do provide a good insight into the current situation.

Image: White paper on gender equality in the fitness industry 2022
White paper on gender equality in the fitness industry 2022

Management positions mainly held by men

Men still make up the majority in management positions in particular. In the context of self-employment, men make up 70 percent of studio owners. For women, on the other hand, the figure is only 29 percent. Of course, the fitness industry is not the only one with a distribution like this, but the difference is that little is known about this industry. That’s why this survey is so important. “We see this study as a first step and realize that more research will be needed,” said Artur Jagiello, Head of Marketing & Communications at Sport Alliance.

Among women who are in leadership positions, 27 percent say their path to becoming a leader was more difficult because of their gender. By contrast, among men, only 7 percent cite this as a reason.

Gender bias

When asked if an equal gender balance in their workplace was important to them, 55 percent of women answered in the affirmative. Only 36 percent of men see it the same way.

At management level, it is even clearer. 65 percent of women say that an equal distribution of sexes in their workplace is important to them. Among men, the figure is 36 percent.

What you can do to create more equality

The first step is to create awareness of this important issue. Only when there is awareness of the current situation anything can be changed.

Some companies have already initiated strategies and measures to address the issue, knowing that something needs to be done to improve equality in the fitness industry. However, as in many other industries, there is still a long way to go.

As a gym owner, you can start by creating awareness about this issue in your business. But also think about what other things you personally can do to make an impact and create more equality.

Here’s some inspiration on how you can put this important topic on your studio’s agenda and ensure equality:

  • Communicate: Talk to your staff about this issue. For example, you can send out newsletters or organize a team meeting. 
  • Listen: Ask your staff for their opinion. Do they feel that there is equality in your company? It is best to give your employees the opportunity to express their opinion anonymously (e.g. an anonymous survey) so that there are no inhibitions.
  • Gather ideas: Ask your employees for ideas on how you can work together to promote equality in your studio. You may be surprised at what great ideas, your co-workers have.
  • Get involved: And not just within your studio. Where can you, as a business owner, take action to promote equality in the fitness industry?

Want to get access to the white paper and see all data?

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