The Catalan government has warned public swimming pools to stop women from swimming topless.
The regional government said that in the Spanish region of Catalonia, women can swim topless in public pools. The right to swim shirtless has been enshrined in the Catalan Equality Code since 2020.
However, many public pools continued to turn away women who exercised this right.
Now, the Catalan government’s equality and feminist department has written a letter to municipalities and cities reminding them of their obligation to allow topless swimming, regardless of gender.
The letter stated that preventing women from bathing topless “excludes a section of the population and violates the freedom of choice of each person regarding his body.” Local authorities must defend themselves against discrimination on any grounds, “including gender, religious belief or dress”.
Swimming pools that do not comply with the equality law can be fined €500,000.
So if you’re planning a trip to the Spanish region, be sure to bring a bikini – but don’t worry if you forgot your top half.
What do people say about a topless permit?
The feminist group Mugrons Lliures (Free Nipples) welcomed the decision. It was a matter of equality, said spokeswoman Mariona Trabal, “Men can swim topless and women cannot.” One does not know why it took so long, “but we are so happy.”
Some pool visitors also share this view. One woman said, “I’ll go topless, of course I will.” She is often required to cover herself.
Another woman explained that she understood that in a private pool you have to respect the owner’s decision, in public pools “we have to do it for men and slim Yet do the same. If they don’t wear a top, we don’t have to wear one either.”
The left-leaning Catalan government launched a campaign last year to allow women to go topless in a swimming pool if they choose.
The sexualization of women begins in childhood and accompanies us throughout our lives, according to a video released as part of the campaign. “The fact that we have to cover our chests in some places is proof of that.”