Wider Parking Spaces For China’s Women Drivers Spark Sexism Debate

A mall in China is currently under fire for allotting wider parking spaces for their women patrons. Dashijiedaduhui – or “World Metropolis”, a popular mall in the northern port city of Dalian, China, has recently unveiled parking spaces specially made for women drivers.

Each of these parking spaces are 30 centimeters (11.811 inches) wider than the typical World Metropolis parking space, and are distinctly adorned with thick, pink borders. Near these parking spaces is a sign post that said: “respectfully reserved for women.” According to mall managers, the “women-friendly” parking spaces have been provided after they noticed that the women customers of their establishment have been having difficulties parking in the normal parking spaces.

A few women patrons have shown their appreciation for the dedicated parking spaces. One user, Yong Mei, told the AFP:

“I think this is very convenient. Other parking spaces are too narrow.”

Yong Mei added:

“It’s not gender biased. It’s just that women have a few issues with vision when parking.”

However, concerned Chinese netizens took to social media their anger and frustration over what they perceived was a blatant sexist move by the mall authorities to segregate women drivers in the mall’s parking areas. One Facebook user commented on the Telegraph page:

“I can parallel park better than most men can, so I think this is pretty ridiculous”

A great number of observers defended the mall managers’ decision to provide special parking spaces for women. One user commented:

“It is a right decision. Women are not skilled in parking. They hit left, right and while reversing.”

Another one commented:

“So? It’s a well known fact that women have a worse sense of surroundings, no more sexism than having separate competitions in sports.”

A few women netizens did not perceive the mall’s decision as sexist, and noted that the wider parking spaces can be very convenient for mothers with heavy car load. One user commented:

“I think maybe a wider space is needed by women, Mums to be precise. Trying to lean over and get little ‘un out of the car seat can be a pain when there isn’t much room, and yes, some of us Mums are a little broader in the beams then others…so what? Plus, a little to a lot more room is required getting out of a car when pregnant. Tho’ I don’t think we are any worse at parking then the fellas.”

Mall managers defended themselves from accusations that the parking space allotment was sexist. Yang Hongjun, a lady manager of the mall, told the AFP:

“We just wanted to make things easier for women, who make up most of our customers.

“It’s not an insult to women at all. If their parking spaces are larger, it’s only for practical reasons. It doesn’t mean that women drive less well than men.”

[Image from the AFP via the Telegraph]