Controversial Female-Only Swimming Lane Set Up at Guangzhou Pool

By Evelyn Wang, May 31, 2018

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A swimming pool in Guangzhou has joined the ranks of parking spots, subway cars and security checkpoints offering a women-only area. Last Friday, Guangzhou’s Xijiao Swimming Plaza set up pink signs designating special ‘female-only’ lanes for women.

According to, the female-specific swimming lane is following the example of Guangzhou and Shenzhen’s female-priority subway cars, which were intended to reduce harassment aboard public transportation. The gender-restricted lanes aim to protect those supposedly too timid or shy to swim freely otherwise. Reportedly, male swimmers who attempt to cross the barrier get a whistled reminder to stay in their lane from pool lifeguards.


As shown above, the women’s lanes are set to one side of swimming pool. In a GRTN report released Monday, both male and female swimmers spoke up to support the approach, saying it was a good way to avoid unwanted body contact, whether intentional or not.  

However, the move didn’t tickle everyone pink. Some questioned the decision on the Internet. 

“Now we promote gender equality, but isn’t this discriminating against men?” one user commented on Weibo.

Another netizen doubted the move would help the cause of women’s rights. 

“As a female, I think the women-only lane is actually a chain limiting women’s freedom of choice under the pretence of protection. In the future, will we only get protection of rights and safety in [the form of] those ‘female-priority’ public facilities?” 

A third commenter disagreed.

“There are still normal lanes even after creating the women-only lanes; it’s a safeguard for females, just like the female-priority subway cars. Women can choose freely whether to enter this area or not, so why do people call it a chain?”

According to GRTN, Xijiao Swimming Plaza has stated that the women-only lanes are not permanent. Based on the number and gender distribution of swimmers on any given day, the pool may add or get rid of the lanes accordingly.

[Photo via Xijiao Swimming Plaza]

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