Women’s parking spaces: sensible practice or sexist approach


Many people say that a woman at the wheel is like a monkey with a grenade. There are also a lot of jokes and criticism on how the ladies park. However, there’s no consensus on this point. In some countries the policy of the city authorities is also different for that matter. For example not long ago women’s parking spaces were opened in Hangzhou, China and Frankfurt, Germany. Social media boil with discussions about how the initiative should be regarded: as sensible practice or sexist approach? Our new Popsop study is about that problem.

In fact the first women’s parking spaces appeared in Germany in 1990-s. At that time it wasn’t so much a case of women’s convenience but their safety. The fair sex felt a risk of sexual assault; therefore special parking spaces were made – wider than usual parking spaces, to help them with the problem.

Then the problem disappeared and things settled down. But in 2015 the «women-only» parking places were opened in Frankfurt, Germany. They are also wider than usual parking places, highlighted in pink and situated near the terminals. The public had an ambiguous reaction, but about 70% of the population claimed that this was nothing but a terrible manifestation of sexism.


No sooner had the storm of discussions in social media calmed down than in June 2016 women’s parking places appeared in Hangzhou, China. The initiative was met with indignation. Parking places in Frankfurt came to the top again, and Hangzhou city administration was accused of sex discrimination and demanded to replace the plates «For women» on «For inexperienced drivers». Popsop has analyzed posts in Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #womenparking to know the opinion of the wide audience of social media on this point.

Many people, as in the case of Frankfurt, think it is quite a cruel measure, which distinguishes female audience compared to others not in the best possible light. The user Barney Johnson (Instagram — @_barney_j) wrote a regretful post on his webpage.


A resident of Heidelberg (Germany) Bob Witlox (Instagram — @bobwitlox) wonders what makes the women’s parking places different from all others.


However, there are people who approve such measures of the authorities, but discredit their effectiveness. The stereotype that only critics and male sceptics reproach women in the inability to park is literally collapsing here. A resident of Berlin Camilla Vestergaard (Instagram — @camves88) is also surprised that some ladies cannot normally ride even into the widest parking places.


Social media didn’t go without sharp jokes motifakes on the topic of women’s parking. Veronica Starr from California (Instagram — @veronicastarr1) posted a prototype of women’s parking with witches’ brooms.


Feminists who had especially sharp reaction on the appearance of women’s parking places couldn’t pass this theme up. You can find photos from the parking places with hashtags #feminism on the webpage of China woman Hana Kokonutz Kokanović (Instagram — @bonjour_world).


But things are not all that bad and women who recognize their insufficient skills in parking are even grateful to the authorities for such initiatives. There is a post in support of women’s parking on the webpage of the siblings Ryan and Tyler (Instagram — @ljlacy) (Eberdingen, Germany).


The whole discussion unfolded under the photo with the name of Chinese women’s parking on the webpage of Yeye Paras (Instagram — @xoxo_yeye), it once again proves our hypothesis which completes our investigations: opinions differ.