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Michigan gym combats pay inequality with discounts for women

February 9, 2018

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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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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