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Germany get behind the wheel of new gendered parking system


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German Mayor Gallus Strobel has initiated a unique parking system whereby certain parking bays are designated for ‘male drivers only’.

These bays are deemed unfit for use by the fairer sex due to their close proximity to pillars, bad lighting and requirement that any driver back diagonally in to the space. In contrast, those spaces selected as suitable for female visitors are spacious, avoid awkward angles and are well-lit.

In defence of his plans, Strobel simply said: "men are, as a rule, better at such tasks."

He added: "It’s a marketing idea and it works."

Certainly, the small town of Triberg in Schwarzwald has marked a noticeable increase in tourism as a result of the initiative. It appears that those wishing to visit the local sites are also very happy to test whichever parking space has been allotted to them.

Other areas further afield have also begun to take a leaf out of Mayor Strobel’s book. Only this month, a parking complex in Tianjin, China, opened a ladies-only parking zone. Decked out with pink decor, neon signs and hazard bumpers in every space, it is evident that local authorities are taking a preventative stance when it comes to the possibility of a woman endangering that perfectly polished bumper.

As much as it is easy to criticise Mayor Strobel for making what has always been a sexist joke a reality, as a woman I have to acknowledge some truth behind the banter. When parking, I lack confidence because my spatial awareness leaves a lot to be desired. Case studies have shown that on average women take 20 seconds longer parking in the same space and even after all this extra planning and effort, the result is less accurate.

There is an argument that if men like Mayor Strobel weren’t so eager to provide easier solutions to our parking dilemmas, women would have to learn to tackle the most difficult of spaces. Do we have the time or the inclination though?

 Let’s be honest, most of us would love to find a female parking space in our car parks; it would be like checking into a first-class seat instead of squeezing into economy. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses which should be celebrated and enjoyed. They can park – so what? We have enough female wisdom to know that accepting a pink, spacious parking space is only going to save us problems and give our male friends that much needed ego-boost!

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