Women’s parking spaces are a regular phenomenon in Austria and Germany where they can be found at motorway restrooms, restaurants, and shopping centers. The practice isn’t as common in the Czech Republic, though according to the Czech daily Metro, it’s gaining popularity.
A reader recently sent the publication a photo of some women-only parking spaces at a Prague 9 McCafé, writing: “I was quite offended when I arrived at the parking lot to have coffee with my sister. As a woman, I felt it as an insult. Men also do not have their own parking, do they?”
Zuzana Svobodová, Director of PR and Communication for the fast-food chain said the first female parking space appeared in front of a restaurant on the D10 highway to Mladá Boleslav about ten years ago. However, such parking spots haven’t attracted much interest among the fast-food chain’s female clientele and are not widespread.
Svobodová went on to tell the publication that parking spaces designated “for-her” are no different from ordinary ones and do not differ in width, for instance, which some women could interpret as a commentary on their parking skills.
“We tried to make our customers feel safer by having parking right at the front door of the restaurant,” she said. “Particularly during evening operating hours, when women may feel threatened. We wanted to offer them a more illuminated and clear place.”
In Germany and Austria where such parking spaces are common, they are often made wider for practical reasons, for example, to give avoid kids exiting cars and damaging surrounding vehicles — not because women are worse drivers. In fact, tests carried out by the Czech Central Automotoclub, suggest that women are actually more careful than men when it comes to parking.
Female critics of the practice, which is also common in Asian countries where the areas tend to be marked off with pink paint, say that such parking spaces are sexist; while male opponents of women-only parking say that offering wider spaces only to women with children imply that only women can be caretakers.
In recent years the Czech Republic has introduced special train cars designated for women only in an effort to make passengers feel safer. Similar controversies have popped up around the issue of a Czech beer created just for women.