Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"
I know my wife was asked if she would teach a group of muslim women, as they were uncomfortable in a class run by men. I have my doubts if this is a valid approach to self defence, but for Aikido and exercise, fine. I have also had students whose religion does not let them bow to anyone but God - I am okay with this. I am not Shinto. They show respect anyway, and I bow anyway.
As a nurse, I have had male nursing students tell me they are not comfortable seeing any woman but their wife. There is no area in nursing that allows for an all male patient population, and no way this man could write the national exams to be a nurse with ignorance on half the population of the world. I told him to figure it out or quit. The whole time, I knew there are areas with all female staff including physicians and I cannot be used to chaparone a male doctor with a female patient.
If I had a female Aikido student who had been beatened or raped or was just uncomfortable being around men in general, I would not have any man work with her at first, nor would I demand it. I might have to ask for a special class of women only and set up a separate day and time, and I might have to admit I could not accomodate this request. If this was a woman saying she didn't want to have contact with a man, most people would expect this would be accomodated.
For religious grounds for a brand new student - I would be concerned that I might be asked to accede to other demands, and I would be clear about how far I was willing to go. As a former Canadian student in the only dojo in an entire province, I understand trying to work with a potential new student despite some odd requests up front. In a smaller town, this student might also be friends with a landlord, or someone else I might need to keep happy. At least one Nova Scotia dojo sets up in a church.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada does not apply to a dojo environment. If this isn't workable, time to let it go.