Michigan gym combats pay inequality with discounts for women

ORION, Mich. (AP) — An eastern Michigan gym is trying to fight gender inequality by lowering the price of membership for women.
The Gym in Lake Orion ran a newspaper ad saying it will charge women two-thirds of what it’s charging men for a membership “in the interest of fairness,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“Ever wonder why XYXX? WE DO! The Gym values its male members tremendously but we don’t value them a THIRD more than our female members!” the ad read.

Women can join the Orion Township gym for $20 a month with no initiation fee, according to the ad.

Gym manager Rich Garvin said he wants to even the playing field due to the pay disparity between men and women. In 2015, female full-time, year-round workers made 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

“It’s just difficult to observe injustice or unfairness,” Garvin said. “I think it’s important that we don’t sit idly by. … If we do, we condone it. And I don’t condone it.”
He also maintained that he’s not raising anyone’s membership prices.

“You can get a $30 a month membership,” he said. “Having a discount, encouraging women to come in, in an attempt to make it a little easier for them to do so, I think is a good business practice and just the right thing to do.”

Heidi Weger has been a member of the Orion gym for about a decade. She said she’s on board with the discount if it’s for the right reasons.

“Because it’s for a just cause, I’m all for it,” she said. “If it was just to bring more women in than the men, then no, I’m not for it.”

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  • Mac Woods

    Symbolism over substance. Go into ANY gym on planet Earth. Any continent. Any country. You will find the membership is over 96% Male. Particularly in the U.S. They can afford the discount because of the MEN paying full price. That’s okay. We bought the house, cars, and vacations too, sweetheart. You’re welcome.

  • Brian

    It’s like the “Lady’s Night” at a bar scenario. If you let the women in free, you will get the men to come in droves. This is not about a gender wage gap (which is a myth anyway), it’s about increasing the male membership under the guise of equality and fairness.

  • Bill Mattocks

    This is, I believe, illegal gender-based discrimination. Michigan law prohibits it. To wit:
    Rights to Public Accommodation or Public Service

    A complaint may be filed if, because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or disability, a person has been:

    denied admission privileges, or equal use of facilities, in places made available to the public
    subjected to unequal treatment when admitted
    denied goods, services, or advantages on an equal basis by a public facility, department, agency, board or commission, owned, or operated, managed, or licensed by the state, a political subdivision, or an agency thereof, including law enforcement agencies, or a tax exempt private agency established to provide services to the public