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Female-only pool lane gets mixed views

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-21 09:47

A female-only lane in a swimming pool in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has been open for a month, but not all agree that it prevents sexual harassment.

"We have not received any complaints or received any report of a quarrel or dispute taking place in the women-only lane after the lane was designated on May 15," an executive from Guangzhou Xijiao Swimming Pool said.

The indoor pool, which has 10 lanes, has taken the lead by establishing the women-only lane in the southern province. It came after a complaint by a female swimmer.

"Male swimmers, except children, will be asked to leave if they are found in the women-only lane," the executive, who asked not to be named, said on Wednesday. "In the past month, no males have refused to leave the lane after being asked by the pool's staff."

Female swimmers are allowed to swim in the pool's other nine lanes when they don't want to swim in the women's lane, he said.

The establishment of the female-only lane - like a designated carriage on a subway train - shows care for women, the executive said.

"The special women-only lane will be canceled when there are too many male swimmers and only a few females. And the swimming pool will have two female-only lanes when there are a lot of women and only a few males swimmers. It is flexible," he said.

But the pool has never needed to have more than one designated lane for women, he added.

The idea for the women's lane has stirred up a mixed responses among locals.

"The establishment of such a lane can certainly help prevent women from being harassed in the pool and protect their privacy," said Chen Zhanwen, a male swimmer from Guangzhou's Tianhe district. "Men usually refuse to swim in a women's lane; otherwise, they may be suspected of having other motives. It's good news for the mass of women swimmers."

But Fang Beibei, a female office worker, said there would be no need for a lane reserved just for women if the pool's management was doing a better job.

"The special lane is a little bit of discriminatory against women, despite its convenience, and I will not use it," she said. "There are already too many women-only establishments, including women-only security check channels at airports and women-only carriages in subway lines," she said. "They are actually unnecessary."

Built in 1930, the Xijiao pool in the city's Liwan district is one of the three oldest in Guangzhou.

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