I have a dojo of mostly males and a handful of dedicated females. In that group, I have a wide range of age differences and physical handicaps. My question is this, "who do I accomodate?"
The problem with training is that is will (should?) always favor the majority interest of the dojo. Is it fair if I take a senior (age) class and make them constantly take breakfalls? Is it fair if I constantly force a bunch of young, strong students to practice non-physical aikido? Is it fair to constantly make a bunch of girls practice aikido like boys? Is it fair to make a bunch of guys constantly train like girls? NO! It might be good occasssionally, but not always.
I can actually see the girls roll their eyes when I talk about hard aikido; I can see the boys sigh when I start talking about softer aikido; I can see my older students look on with fear when the sutemi begins. Who do I accomodate? No one. Sometimes my instruction is geared towards men, sometimes women; sometimes, I teach a hear-pounding class for my young people to wrestle around. Understand that as an instructor, every class I am challenged to present instruction that will appeal to my entire class.
I think women in general have it tough, but I am not going to make excuses for them. I have heard a lot of posts from women with great attitudes, and I hope they don't get discouraged. To me, sexual equality in a dojo should be:
1. separate changing rooms
2. Variable classes for different interests
3. An understanding that everyone on the mat will equally beat their partner up
Most of my female students want nothing more than those three things. I tell my students the same thing, "Hang in there, keep training. Some days you won't like class, some days you will. But I promise that I will not waste your time either way."
I hope the women today realize they are creating the path for the women tomorrow. Its a tough job, and I respect them for that task alone.