Lady-Parking: Parking Spots Designated for Women?

by Emma Tilden

So apparently women are incapable of parking in standard sized parking spaces. 

Or, at least, that’s what the owners of a mall in northern China seem to think. They have created special parking spots “respectfully reserved for ladies” which are not only painted bright pink but also nearly a foot wider than a regular spot. 

I don’t know how respectful I find this, though. In fact, I’d say that’s pretty damn sexist and patronizing. 

Of course, we can rest assured that “Women make up most of our customers.  If their parking spaces are larger, it’s only for practical reasons. It doesn’t mean that women drive less well than men,” according to Yang Hongjun, a manager at the mall. 

Many bloggers in China saw right through the paternalistic veneer:

 “Is this for real? Don’t discriminate against women drivers.”

“Why do women get all these advantages? If you can’t drive, don’t drive. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. This is precisely reverse discrimination.” 

And China isn’t the only place where “Lady Parking” gets special attention. Seoul, South Korea, painted nearly 5,000 parking spaces pink in 2009 so that no woman would be forced to endure the long trek from her parking spot in stilettos. Because walking in heels is so inherent to being a woman, right? And if we have a problem with our shoes we are incapable of changing into flats? I mean, our feet are biologically suited to heels, just like Barbie’s! 

2012 saw the advent of gendered parking spaces in Triberg, Germany, where the town’s public lot contains 12 “female-only” parking spots and two “male only” spots. Triberg’s mayor, Gallus Strobel, said that the gender rules were merely symbolic (whatever that means) and that women should feel free to undertake the “challenge” of parking in the “male only” spots which, because of the lot’s odd orientation, require a complicated maneuver in order to park. “But many [women] also cannot park,” the mayor said. “Like my secretary. Five times she tried and no success.” 

I’m sure women’s parking incapability reflects our inability to make choices in our lives without a male protector. Alas, we can only hope that someday we make the evolutionary jump necessary for us to become equal to men.  

Images courtesy of,, and Serten at  

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