Ridiculous. Discrimination. Rubbish. Backwards. Bullsh*t.
These are words I’ve seen thrown around today. Not to describe, say, a certain employer demanding his female staff wear skirts – and bare legs.
But to describe a community swimming pool.
Over in Sydney’s west, Cumberland Council’s Auburn Ruth Everess Aquatic Centre recently reopened after undergoing major refurbishments. Of the five pools at the complex, one has had privacy curtains installed around it for new women-only sessions, run under the secure eye of female lifeguards.
For a grand total of three hours a week, across Wednesdays and Sundays, the curtains that surround the pool are drawn to gift women a safe space to bathe. Women of all ages and shapes and colours. That includes Muslim women, who previously might never have dipped more than their toe inside the pool.
Normally, women who wear hijabs have to invest in bathers such as burkinis, swim after hours, or not swim at all.
So the simple introduction of private women-only sessions, for three hours a week, removes any barriers local Muslim women may face that prevent them from setting foot at their community pool.