Women-only parking spaces in Kunming – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for October 27, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

“The custom of ‘ladies first’ is viewed as a way to show respect for women. But women-only parking lots are discrimination against women in many people’s eyes. I think this is a blatant double standard.”

“Women are supposed to be bad drivers? I am a female and I am pretty confident that I don’t need these larger spaces to park my car.”

These two comments are typical of the pushback online (in Chinese) against a company in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, that has introduced women-only parking spots, which are larger, wider, and closer to the entrance of the parking lot.

On October 27, Yunnan.cn reported (in Chinese) that the company had been offering these extra-large women-only parking spaces since July. The parking bays are framed in bright yellow and have signs on the ground that read “women-only parking spot” (女性专用车位 nǚxìngzhuānyòngchēwèi), although the company says that men are allowed to use these spaces as well.

Many internet users and experts called the idea sexist. “It reinforces the stereotype that women are worse at driving than men,” said a sociologist, adding that larger-than-normal parking spots are also a waste of limited parking space in the city. To make female drivers feel less offended, some people suggest the controversial spots be renamed “parking spaces for new drivers.”