In an attempt to help women drivers whose driving skills are not that “superb,” a parking lot service in China has introduced new pink parking spots.
Yes, you read that right.
At a time when Canada is leading by example by forming the country’s first cabinet with equal number of men and women and the United States is debating gender neutral bathrooms, China seems to be moving in the opposite direction by opening female-only parking areas.
The parking lots connecting Zhejiang province to Jiangxi province in China’s southeast are reportedly offering extra-large spaces that are nearly 50% bigger than normal — and specifically for women.
The reason? It’s for women who “can’t reverse.”
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“The bigger parking spaces are for women drivers whose driving skills are not superb,” Pan Tietong, the service area’s manager told the Qianjiang Evening News, a state-run newspaper. He said he had encountered female drivers who were unskilled at backing up into spots, and sometimes asked security guards to help them park.
Of course, there are several things wrong about the concept. But let’s pick out the two obvious ones.
- Considering the fact there aren’t similar extra-wide parking spaces for men, the service is assuming only women are bad drivers, which is offensive.
- Associating pink with women is stereotyping, which isn’t good.
Although these spaces have been functional since March, Weibo users only recently stirred up debate over the issue.
“This is sexism under the name of showing concern — whether one can park well depends on driving skills, not gender,” said one user.
“They should be called newbie drivers’ spaces instead,” said another.
“True respect for women entails letting women enjoy the same rights as men,” read another comment.
This isn’t the first time, though, that such female-only parking spots have sparked outrage in China.
News of similar parking spaces outside a shopping mall in the city of Dalian and bearing "Respectfully reserved for women" signposts emerged in 2014.