I just read a few articles on-line about public swimming pools in Lille, France. And it got me thinking…
(This photo is of my kids and their friends in a pool last year. It has nothing to do with the story, except that it is a pool and I thought I should include a photo.)
Many years ago, a mayor set aside an hour a week for women only to use the public, indoor swimming pools in Lille, France. In more recent years, they have added an hour for obese women and an hour for older women. Special hours were set aside to help fight obesity and increase general health in Lille.
Now the current mayor is running for First Secretary and is closely associated with a man who is running for president in France. (I think he’s running for presidential candidate – my translation is a little fuzzy at best regarding the specific offices in the French government, but his position, either former or aspiring-to-be, is not relevant. The fact that he is running for any office seems to be the reason that this issue has made headlines in France recently.)
His opponents are arguing that currently, most of the women who take advantage of the women-only hours, happen to be Muslim, therefore, it seems to be a separate swimming session for their religious group.
People in support of the women-only hours believe that some women, regardless of their religious affiliation, prefer to swim without men around the pool. They also state that a woman who is obese or older, and nearly naked, would be less likely to swim in the presence of men. Therefore, without the women-only hours, these women would not take advantage of the health benefits of swimming offered by the public pool.
Opponents argue that if there are hours for women, should there also be special hours for disabled swimmers, other age groups such as infants or teens, other modest religious groups, and obese men? They claim that equality is not being promoted if there are special hours for certain people.
Reading this article has me wondering…
- Do you think public swimming pools that are funded by taxpayers should offer separate sessions for anyone? If so, for which groups? Is there a public pool near you and do they offer any special group hours?
- Is this a religious issue now because many of the women that take advantage of the women-only hour at certain pools happen to be Muslim, although the women-only swim was not initiated for that purpose?
- Should men be entitled to single-sex pool time, too?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Hope you have a swimmingly good day!
It is interesting that you are talking about this. This issue has been in the news here recently because of a similar women-only swim time measure adopted by a community pool here in Maryland. There are a lot of strong opinions!
I didn’t realize that it was relevant here as well. A hot topic. Thanks for commenting.
Stepping My Way to Bliss said:
Here are my answers:
1. Yes, I applaud separate swimming times. But I think it can be limited to just a time for women and a time for men–maybe with a limit age of 16+ or 18+ for each group. If the women (or men) are skinny, fat, handicapped, old, young, etc–so be it.
2. Definitely should NOT be a religious issue just because a certain group is taking advantage. I say good for them for finding an outlet and way to be together and enjoy exercise.
3. Yes, let men have their own time too, why not? In fact, give them their own pool or club. The last thing I want to see, I don’t care how great his shape, is a man walking around in Speedos–ever. (this thing is only tolerated by moi when watching swimming competitions).
Please forward my answers to M. First Secretary so this matter can be fixed up in a hurry.
Mistress Bliss, I will not forward your answers to the First Secretary. I will simply nominate you for President of France instead! Vote Bliss! And I am with you on the Speedos. Ooh la la! Thank you so much for commenting and I hope you have a blissful day.
I think public pools should be open to all at the same time. (Maybe you could split the pool into two parts female and male section). It is impossible to be fair and give each group the same amount of access. For example, at my gym in Oman, there are two hours for women and 10 hours for men. Not fair if you ask me.
I agree that public pools should be open to all. It’s difficult with private pools and your pool hours in Oman seem unfair. Ten hours vs. two hours is obviously not equal. I suppose the gym director would argue that only 15% of the women swim so they require fewer hours or something like that. No matter which days/hours are selected for separate groups, some people would still complain that one time was better or more convenient than the time to which their group had been assigned. This is why I would like to live on the beach – so I could swim any time!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck swimming at your gym. Merci!