Women can now swim topless in Lake Geneva as Swiss authorities overturn decades-old rule

Bathers could be fined up to £56 for flouting the rule 

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The Independent Online

Women in Geneva will now be allowed to swim topless in the city’s iconic lake and Rhone River. 

A rule dating from 1929 was overturned by Geneva’s regional council after a petition of just 233 signatures was raised against it.

However, the change does not apply to public swimming pools or swimming naked.

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The rule banned swimming in Geneva’s natural waterways “without being clothed in a swim suit or bathing costume appropriate for each sex”.

Authorities interpreted the meaning to include topless women and fines of up to 70 Swiss francs (£56) could be given to those who flouted it. The rule was enforced at the discretion of local police officers. 

A woman who was fined for swimming topless last summer complained women were allowed to sunbathe topless, but not swim that way.

She led the petition to overturn the law, saying it was sexist.

"The state council studied this petition and decided that indeed, in 2017 this very old law could be relaxed, and acknowledged that women can swim bare-breasted," Nicolas Bolle, assistant secretary-general of Geneva's security department, said of the decision. 

"Think back to what our great-grandmothers and grandmothers wore to swim in 1929: A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then," he added.

A statement from the regional government Wednesday said: "It will now be possible for women to swim topless, if they so desire." 

Additional reporting by Associated Press