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"Parkour is generally associated with fit young men scaling buildings or leaping through the air, but a group of Melbourne women are trying to change that perception.

Parkour is a discipline that originated in France in the late 1980s.

The idea behind the it is to move through any terrain, often urban, as efficiently as possible by running, jumping, climbing, vaulting or rolling.

On a warm, summery Tuesday night, a group of about 50 women of all ages congregated outside the Melbourne Museum. For many, it was their first introduction to parkour.

Kel Glaister coaches Girls of Melbourne Parkour and she coordinates introductory training nights designed for women.

"Parkour historically and everywhere in the world is a discipline dominated by men," Ms Glaister said.

"In YouTube videos you'll often see the most common practitioner is a young man. That is something that we're looking to change."

Ms Glaister believes parkour is a great way for women to build body awareness, strength and endurance, and that it can also offer an alternative to competitive sport.

"They may have been ridiculed in sport classes or made to feel unwelcome when they don't compete well.

"So a non-competitive discipline can attract women who don't feel competitive sports are for them."

Women reclaiming public spaces.

Despite not being a particularly sports-orientated person, Sophie Reid was encouraged to get involved with parkour through her brother.

Four years later, she is an avid parkour participant.

"The main thing that keeps me going is you can feel yourself getting stronger and beating new obstacles that you wouldn't have thought about trying before," Ms Reid said.

As well as the personal benefits of participating in parkour, she believes it is helping women reclaim public spaces.

"We're having a good time together and being physical and strong and active in a public space."

Trying risky things in a safe environment

Suzi Miletic has been training in parkour since 2010 and describes herself as a naturally scared person.

Yet parkour has allowed her to do risky things in a safe environment.

As a woman, Ms Miletic said parkour had had a huge impact on her both mentally and physically.

"It became about different things," she said.

"My shoulders were filling out and my dresses didn't fit me anymore, but I value more being able to move well and to feel strong than I do to look a certain way."

Ms Glaister said the female parkour scene was growing in Melbourne and throughout Australia, now with a dedicated women's-only parkour group in nearly every capital city.

She said she believed the understanding of parkour being a sport just for men was changing because of women running parkour classes for women.