Male-free parking spots for Korea

Korean capital announces longer, wider parking bays for female motorists

The largest city and capital of South Korea, Seoul, is spending around $100 million to make the metropolis more female-friendly, including the creation of parking spaces reserved exclusively for women.

As part of Korea's big-budget push to make Seoul more welcoming for women, 7000 new female-only toilets are being installed around the city and many pedestrian walkways are being resurfaced with a slightly spongy material to aid those wearing high heels.

Made clearly visible via bright pink painted outlines and skirted female iconography, the special parking spots are wider and longer than regular ones.

The she-spots, as some are calling them, are also better lit and closer to vital shopping infrastructure, such as elevators and escalators.

It's not clear if male drivers who park in the spots will incur a fine, or how the new system will be policed.

In conversation with the Korea Times newspaper, the Assistant Mayor for Women and Family Affairs, Cho Eun-hee stated: "It is like adding a female touch to a universal design and make things more comfortable for women".

Korea is not the first country to offer female-only parking spots. Car parks reserved for women are already seen in China, Kuwait, Malaysia, Indonesia, Austria, Italy and Germany.

Some Australian car parks and shopping malls have 'family' parking spots designed for parents with infants, often designated with the symbol of a pram.

In 2012 the German town of Triberg announced male and female designated car spots, the latter better lit and wider. The male car parking spots were hemmed in by concrete pillars and could only be reversed into.

Triberg Mayor, Gallus Strobel, denied the strategy was sexist. He told Germany's Spiegel magazine he was accused of "male pig-headedness" by one critic and that he "never expected this reaction".

"I am happy, and it looks like we've hit a raw nerve in society. It's been a great marketing gimmick," he said.

"Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it they can see the town's attractions," said the Triberg mayor.

Do you think gender-based parking spots are a good idea? Have your say in the comments section below.

Published : Tuesday, 20 May 2014
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