From now on women in Geneva will be allowed to swim topless in the lake and any of the canton’s rivers, including the Rhône. According to Meteo News, the water in Lake Geneva is a chilly 12 degrees, so it may be a while before the new rule has any practical value.
A rule dating from 1929 banned anyone in Geneva swimming in the lake or rivers “without being clothed in a swim suit or bathing costume appropriate for each sex”. The city’s police took this to mean that they could issue fines to any woman who swam topless in the lake or rivers. The rule did not cover public swimming pools.
A petition opposing the law, signed by 233 people, described it as absurd and sexist. Women, allowed to sunbathe topless on the beach, could not swim topless. The petition mentioned that two women had been fined in July 2016.
State councillor François Longchamp said: “We lowered our principles regarding the upper body”.
His colleague Antonio Hodgers added: “We removed the top but not the bottom”.
What would have John Calvin made of this libertine move? In his time there was a law against dancing.