A Chinese shopping mall has installed larger parking spaces for female drivers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The spaces, outlined in hot pink and and marked “respectfully reserved for women,” are 11 inches wider than the normal parking spaces.
“It’s not an insult to women at all,” said mall manager Yang Hongjun. “If their parking spaces are larger, it’s only for practical reasons. It doesn’t mean that women drive less well than men.”
The shopping mall in northeast China isn’t the first to adopt this generous policy–in 2o10 a shopping mall in Hebei reserved an entire parking garage just for women, with spaces a full 31 inches wider than the typical spots. In 2009, thousands of parking spots near mall entrances were painted pink, supposedly because women in heels wouldn’t want to walk too far to get their shopping done.
Similar policies have been enacted in Germany, although with a different rationale. Several city regulations throughout Germany demand that a certain percentage of parking garage spots near entrances must be reserved for women–to make them feel safer, and protect from sexual assault. According to a U.S. Department of Justice report, between 2005 and 2010, 15 percent of rapes and sexual assaults in the U.S. happened in open areas or on public transportation, with another 10 percent occurring in parking lots, garages and in commercial places.
In 2012, however, the German town of Triberg marked spaces particularly difficult to maneuver into as “men only.” A 2009 study published in the Psychological Research journal found that “men park more accurately and especially faster than women,” and admitted that while “sex differences in spatial cognition persist in real-life situations … socio-psychological factors modulate the biological causes of sex differences.”