A rule posted at a swimming pool in Tbilisi, the capital of the country of Georgia, is getting slammed as sexist after posting a sign telling women not to swim during their periods.
“Do you even realize how offensive this is?” she wrote, noting that members pay a fee to use the facility. “And, by the way, since according to your rules we are not allowed to use a swimming pool 5-6 days each month, do we get a preferential price compared with men?”
A Vake employee identified only as Natia told Buzzfeed that the policy is related to incidents where staff members have found tampons floating in the water, which means the club has to go through the expensive process of changing the water.
But if a woman is correctly using a tampon or menstrual cup (not a pad), swimming while menstruating is completely safe for her and other people in the water. (And no, there’s no real evidence that a menstruating woman swimming in the ocean will attract sharks.)
And while it’s unlikely that blood will leak into the water, the CDC notes that “properly chlorinated pool water” will kill germs the blood may contain.
Not all media covering the issue has gotten the memo, though. ITV News covered the story Thursday in an article including a poll on the matter as if whether the swim ban is appropriate was still up for debate. Twitter user Felicity Morse shared a screenshot on Thursday, though it appears the poll has since been removed.
While being told not to go to the pool for a few days a month isn’t the world’s biggest human rights crisis, it’s tied to the serious stigma around periods experienced by women around the world. Many menstruating women and girls in Nepal are banned from doing everyday activities or even banished from their homes. And in the United States, girls who can’t afford pads or tampons have been documented missing school — even when school nurses’ office will provide those products for free — because the process of asking for them can feel so stigmatizing.