02 February 2017

Aarhus bans popular women-only swimming session

The Aarhus City Council on Wednesday night voted overwhelmingly to scrap a nearly ten-year old gender-separated weekly programme at a public swimming hall.

The Gellerupbadet swimming hall in Denmark's second largest city has offered a few hours of female-only swimming every Saturday for nearly ten years. The programme is primarily used by Muslim women from Gellerupparken, a housing estate where four out of five are from immigrant homes.

The council voted 26-5 to end the programme.

National government party Venstre was behind the move, saying that gender-separated swimming has no place in Denmark.

“Children and adults need to learn that it is completely natural to swim together regardless of religious belief. Therefore it is a disservice and not an integration initiative when special offers are made [to minorities, ed.],” the proposal read, according to TV2.

The council's vote is unlikely to be the end of the matter, however. The Institute for Human Rights (Institut for Menneskerettigheder) said ahead of the council's decision that it would likely file a complaint with Denmark's Anti-Discrimination Board (Ligebehandlingsn├Žvnet). [The Local] Read more