'Ladies only' hours have been introduced at a swimming pool in Sydney’s west, and many Muslim women are applauding the decision.
According to the Parramatta Advertiser, a new council-run pool in Auburn has installed lightweight screens to give Muslim women the option of swimming in privacy if they wish.
The screens will be drawn every Sunday from 3pm to 5pm at one of the three pools at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre.
Yusra Metwally, the founder of women’s swimming group Swim Sisters, told the Advertiser the new option would empower many women who may have previously avoided crowded swimming spots.
“There has been so much discussion about what women can wear in the pool and so many have turned away from swimming for that reason,” she said.
“Some women are worried that what they wear in the pool can expose them to questions, comments or stares.
“Having that option just means that there are more opportunities to get women swimming and more women in the pool who may have had barriers to enter a pool under ordinary circumstances.”
The cordoned off space at the pool gives women the option of wearing whatever they feel comfortable in.
The past few years have seen a rise in popularity for ‘burkinis’—a two or three-piece swimming costume—worn by many Muslim women.
Speaking to SBS in 2016, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti revealed she had sold over 700,000 of the swimsuits to women across the world.
"No one needs to judge us on what faith we are if we choose to be modest while enjoying leisure time like swimming,” she said.