German city allows women to bathe topless in pools

A German city will allow women and men alike to bathe topless, becoming the first in Germany to enable female swimmers to go bare-breasted in the pool following a gender identity dispute.

Outdoor swimming pool Humbolthain
Swimmers at the outdoor swimming pool in Humbolthain Park, Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

The sports committee of Göttingen in central Germany has recommended to the city’s indoor and outdoor pools that all swimmers be allowed to bathe “oben-ohne” (without top) at weekends from May 1st, a spokesman for the local authorities said.

The decision came after an ostensibly female swimmer was asked to cover up at a local pool, only to protest that they identified as male, the spokesman said.

The local authorities wanted a roadmap for how to proceed in such situations and after much debate decided the fairest way was to create windows where all swimmers can bathe topless.

Germany has a popular nudist movement known as “FKK” — short for Frei-Körper-Kultur or free body culture — and the majority of saunas are mixed and require customers to strip off for hygiene reasons.


But the move from Göttingen, initially set to last until August, is the first for public swimming baths, which have traditionally allowed only men to bathe topless.

Some local residents have said the move does not go far enough, complaining that equality is not just for weekends.

The local authorities said the weekend rule was necessary to prevent school swimming lessons from being affected.

One swimming pool boss also told the Tageszeitung newspaper that a compromise had to be found to accommodate “customers from other cultures”.

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Women in Germany earn nearly a fifth less than men

Women in Germany continue to be paid significantly less than their male colleagues, with an average difference in wages of 18 percent.

Women in Germany earn nearly a fifth less than men

A report by the German Federal Statistical Office released on Monday showed that in 2021, women in Germany earned on average 18 percent less per hour than men.

The results of the report, released on Germany’s “Equal Pay Day” on March 7th, ahead of International Women’s Day, showed that, in 2021 women earned an average of €19.12 per hour while men earned an average of €23.10 per hour – a difference of €4.08.

READ ALSO: How has the Covid pandemic impacted gender equality in Germany?

The so-called gender pay gap remained almost the same as the previous year: in 2020 the difference was €4.16.

However, the gender pay gap in Germany has been steadily decreasing over the past 15 years and has fallen by 4 percent since 2006.

More women in Part-time jobs and mini-jobs

According to the statistics, differences between the type of jobs and sectors which women and men work in accounts for the majority (71 percent) of the difference in earnings.

Women work more often in sectors and occupations where pay is lower and where they are less likely to reach management positions. Also, women are much more likely to have part-time jobs or mini-jobs than men.