On the face of it, the decision to offer special women's swimming hours at the Hyllie sports center, a municipal swimming pool in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, should not be contentious.
Indeed, Malmö is not alone. According to a survey by the Swedish TV channel TV4, 13 of Sweden's 100 largest municipalities have begun offering separate swimming hours for men and women. "Our facilities are used by 40 percent women and 60 percent men," Johan Hermansson, the head of Malmö's recreations department, told TV4. "Our ambition is for them to be used equally by girls and boys, men and women."
But the trend is not just about achieving 50-50 visitor figures. For decades, Swedish city swimming pools have operated mixed-gender pools, but by adding women-only hours, officials are hoping to accommodate the country's growing Muslim population.