Swedish male train drivers don skirts to beat the heat

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Male staff on Stockholm's commuter trains have begun wearing skirts to circumvent a ban on shorts as sweltering heat hit the Swedish capital this week.

Around 15 male train drivers and other staff wore skirts this week on the suburban Roslagsbanan train service, where temperatures inside the carriages can reach 35 degrees Celsius, transport company Arriva said on Sunday.

"Our policy is that you have to look well dressed and proper when representing Arriva, and that means trousers if you're a man and a skirt if you're a woman, but no shorts," Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius told AFP.

"But if there's a man who is keen to wear women's clothing, such as a skirt, we have said that's okay," he added.

The company could change its policy this autumn after receiving feedback from its employees.

"There's always reason to review the framework when you hear your staff's views. The uniforms should look proper but they should also be comfortable to wear," Mr Hadenius said.

Around 47,000 passengers travel on the Roslagsbanan service every day according to Stockholm Public Transport (SL).

Sweden's tradition of gender equality has famously put more mums in the workplace while rising numbers of dads stay at home.

Over the past year, activists have pushed for a gender-neutral pronoun, "hen", to be added to "han" (he) and "hon" (she).

The Nordic country's largest toy chain said in November its toys were "gender neutral" after picturing boys holding baby dolls and banishing girls from the dolls pages of its Christmas catalogue.

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