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Parking equality or misogyny: Town debuts ‘female only’ spots

In an interesting and somewhat controversial move, a German mayor is pioneering new parking spots exclusively for women, which are marked by the familiar female gender symbol and are wider than average, so as to be ‘easier’ to park in.

By Viknesh VihayenthiranGuest blogger / July 13, 2012

In this June 2012 file photo, a cyclist rides near a communal car parked on the street, in Hoboken, N.J. Street parking in Hoboken is scarce, so the program allows residents to commute without the hassle of looking for parking. A German mayor is pioneering new parking spots exclusively for women, which are marked by the familiar female gender symbol and said to be ‘easier’ to park in.

Julio Cortez/AP

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The mayor of Triberg, in the south of Germany, has introduced a controversial new set of parking spots in one of his town’s publicly-owned car parks.

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Only female drivers can use the special parking spots, which are marked by the familiar female gender symbol and said to be ‘easier’ to park in.

They are much wider than normal parking spots and better lit.

Men also get their own parking spots, but these are narrower and have concrete pillars to negotiate. Male drivers are also forced to reverse into these spots, and there are just two of them compared to the 12 that are marked for female drivers. 

As Triberg’s mayor, Gallus Strobel, likes to explain, the whole thing is a bit of a joke and so far no one has complained.

“I have much pleasure with this idea,” Strobel told ABC News. “I decided last month to do this as a question of humor for our society, and as a question of justice.”

Strobel also had another reason to introduce the scheme--Triberg is a tourist town located in Germany’s Black Forest region. The mayor hopes the controversial parking spots will help bring more attention to his town and hopefully plenty of visitors too.

Note, Triberg’s mayor is certainly not a pioneer in this field. Planners in the Chinese city of Tianjin recently introduced parking spots that only female drivers are allowed to park in. Like the ones in Triberg, they are generally wider and better lit and marked with pink paint.

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