Coalition for Biological Reality Australia & New Zealand 0

Keep McIver's Ladies Baths Women & Children Only

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We call on Randwick City Council to support McIver’s Ladies Baths continuing to operate as a female-only swimming pool and all steps being taken to ensure any exemption from discrimination legislation is observed and extended if necessary.

McIver's Ladies Baths is an ocean pool near Sydney's Coogee Beach, carved out of the sandstone rocks at the bottom of the cliffs in 1866. McIver's has been women-only since 1876. Prior to colonisation the natural pools were frequented by Aboriginal women of the Eora nation who used the waters for bathing and birthing.

There are 35 such ocean pools in Sydney, all with historical significance. McIver’s is the only one that operates as a single-sex pool, allowing women of all cultures and body types to swim freely without men present. Wylie's Baths is one of the other 34 mixed-sex pools available to the public and is only a short stroll from McIver's. It is three times the size of the ladies baths, with many more facilities than the very basic ones available at the smaller ladies pool.

McIver's has recently come under pressure from transgender activists demanding that anyone who identifies as a woman be granted access to the pool, including males that have not undergone hormone treatment or sex reassignment surgery but simply claim a 'woman identity'.

What those transgender activists have not considered are the women who will have nowhere to swim:

  • The coastal areas of Sydney are home to many older religious orders of nuns who frequent the pools
  • Women with disabilities
  • Women with disfigurements from accidents and attacks
  • Women with birth defects
  • Women of faith who are unable to swim elsewhere, such as Muslim and Jewish women
  • Lesbian women
  • Mothers with babies needing a safe space
  • Teenage girls seeking to avoid male attention on their maturing bodies
  • Women who are overweight and wish to avoid male judgement

These women deserve privacy away from the male gaze and McIver's has always been their haven. McIver’s Ladies Baths must continue to operate as a space only for women and children.

You can contact Randwick City Council directly to make your opinion known:

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Women Speak Tasmania:

Feminist Legal Clinic (Sydney):

International Women's Day Brisbane/Meanjin:

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