Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Media report ‘fury’ over Canberra Olympic Pool’s segregated gender sessions

Media report ‘fury’ over Canberra Olympic Pool’s segregated gender sessions
October 23, 2019

Sensationalist mainstream media are once again reporting on local "fury" and stoking racist sentiment at a public aquatic centre's introduction of gender segregation and single-sex swimming sessions.

Echoing past media reports on a programming decisions designed to attract a wider group of users to a facility, both The Canberra Times and Mail Online have chosen to sensationalise the Canberra Olympic Pool's introduction of gender segregated programs at certain times, with women-only sessions on Saturday evenings and men-only sessions on Sundays.

The city centre aquatic centre - which has two pools - will be holding women-only sessions on Saturday evenings from 5.30 to 7pm, and the same for men on Sunday evenings.

The Canberra Times yesterday quoted an unnamed mother as saying her daughter had been left devastated after she arrived at the pool only to be turned away because it was open to "boys only".

The mother was reported as saying "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.

"How can we do this when public institutions blatantly turn her away because she is a girl?"

Meanwhile the Mail Online reported "fury as popular public swimming pool introduces gender segregation and women-only sessions in response to requests from Muslims."

Others slammed the idea on Facebook, labelling it as "backwards".

Explaining the programming move, Canberra Olympic Pool Manager Tracy King, told The Australian that the pool has seen an increase in swimmers after the program was introduced.

She advised "we've had two weeks of the trial so far and had extremely high attendance numbers especially for the female sessions."

King stated that specific time slots had been chose so as not to inconvenience for other swimmers, adding "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.

"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 at the YMCA NSW-managed facility will run until the end of the month when it will be reviewed over whether it will continue long term.

Related Articles

11th October 2019 - ACT pools prepare for summer

25th July 2019 - Auckland Council apologises to Muslim woman after ejection from West Wave Pools

19th March 2018 - Australian-first multicultural uniform guide opens sport to CaLD participants

26th February 2018 - City of Darebin hosts transgender-only swim night at the Reservoir Leisure Centre

20th July 2017 - Media focus on women’s only sessions at Blue Water Swim School

17th May 2017 - Auburn swimming pool introduces privacy screen for Muslim women

20th January 2016 - Canberra Olympic Pool continues to leak despite repair work

2nd November 2015 - Canberra Olympic Pool reopening not a long term solution

23rd June 2015 - One in four fitness club members would pay more for single-sex gyms

5th March 2012 - Push for women-only swimming in Canberra

5th February 2011 - New headscarf helps Muslim women swim safely

14th March 2011 - Women Only Classes Create Media Storm

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

TJS Services

TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide.  Our…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Venues



Talk To Us For Independent Advice & Specialised Services We're business people, not sales reps IP HUB is one of Australia’s leading advisors on telecoms for both small businesses and…

read more

Marketing / Technology



SICO is at the forefront in innovative mobile folding and rolling, space efficient tables, stages, dance floors and many other products which help our customers optimise their use of space. Image…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Venues



Established in 1994, Ceramic Solutions has excelled at the supply and installation of swimming pool tiles and equipment for the pool and leisure industry, with a focus on the needs of end-users. …

read more

Aquatics / Design / Surfaces / Venues


The Retention People Australia

TRP help health clubs, leisure centres and gyms across the globe create happy, loyal members through our user-friendly software which enables effective engagement and the delivery exceptional customer…

read more

Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology / Wellness



AAC ID Solutions is a leading supplier of identification access wristbands, barcoded wristband tickets, lanyards, membership products and RFID solutions for events and venues, working with thousands…

read more

Access / Marketing / Safety / Ticketing



Gunnebo is a global provider of security and access control solutions and services with sales companies in 31 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia.…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Security / Ticketing / Venues


Tim Batt Water Solutions

Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business