At our Jiu Jitsu academy we have a women’s program that was started a couple of years ago. It was created as a way to help women overcome the discomfort of training in a co-ed environment. One of the instructor’s at our academy is a female, and she thought it would be worth experimenting with a women’s-only program to see if there would be any interest in getting more women to train jiu jitsu. And there certainly was. That part of the school is now thriving. You can read about it here: Girls-in-Gis: The Power of Healing.
I’ve heard from a few women that have trained jiu jitsu that there is an initial discomfort to get over in training with guys. There’s the obvious gender difference that is a barrier for some women to get past, but there’s also the size difference. It’s physically demanding to train when you’re first starting jiu jitsu, and if you’re a woman starting out who has to train with guys much larger than them then I could see how it could be difficult to do the moves, at least in the beginning. Jiu jitsu was designed so that a smaller, weaker person can overcome someone larger and stronger, but when you’re first learning the techniques you don’t know how to apply the proper leverage yet, so you’re not going to be defeating size and strength from day one.
There are many reasons why women may feel uncomfortable training jiu jitsu with guys, I’m not a woman so I won’t claim to know truly what it feels like but a quick web search shows many articles that address this topic. The organization “Girls in Gis” was created to help women train together in a friendly environment. They host events all around the United States through their ambassador program and we are very fortunate to have a Girls in Gis event at our school. Girls in Gis also has a scholarship program to help offset the costs associated with learning jiu jitsu. If you check out the testimonials on their site you’ll see that Girls in Gis have had a positive influence on many women’s jiu jitsu journey.