Fury as popular public swimming pool introduces gender segregation in response to requests from migrant groups
- Canberra Olympic Pool has introduced gender segregation for certain times
- Pool will hold women only sessions on Saturday nights and men only on Sundays
- Mother complained and said daughter was left in tears after being turned away
A popular public swimming pool has come under fire after introducing gender segregation.
Canberra Olympic Pool brought in new program earlier this month after a series of demands from the city’s Muslim community.
The pool will now hold women-only sessions on Saturday nights from 5-7.30 and the same for men on Sunday nights.
Canberra Olympic Pool (pictured) introduced a new program that will see segregated gender sessions
One mother said her daughter had been left devastated after she arrived at the pool only to be turned away because it was open to ‘boys only’.
‘My daughter, in tears, couldn’t understand why it was ‘boys only’. Like many Canberra parents, my husband and I are trying to raise our child to believe that her gender is not a barrier to anything and to not be self-conscious about her body,’ the mother told The Canberra Times.
‘How can we do this when public institutions blatantly turn her away because she is a girl?’
Others slammed the idea on Facebook, labelling it as ‘backwards’.
‘Does the government not trust males and females in the same pool. Gone crazy totally. We have fought for equality for years and the government and religions are slowly chipping away at it,’ one person wrote.
‘This country is heading backwards,’ another said.
Despite the controversy, Tracy King, the centre’s manager told The Australian that the pool has seen an increase in swimmers after the program was introduced.
‘We’ve had two weeks of the trial so far and had extremely high attendance numbers especially for the female sessions,’ Ms King said.
She said they picked certain time slots that would be the most convenient for other swimmers.
‘The hour also incorporates learn-to-swim classes, which has been greatly appreciated because many are unable to swim or don’t often have access to a pool.’
The program comes after demands from the Canberra Muslim community and will now hold women only sessions on Saturday nights and men only sessions on Sunday night (pictured: Canberra Olympic Pool)
‘Because of their culture, some can’t be around men in that setting so they really enjoyed the experience. It was like they were having a party and could relax.’
The program will run until the end of the month where it will be reviewed over whether it will continue long term.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Canberra Olympic Pool and the ACT Government for comment.