The parking spaces outside a Chinese shopping mall are distinctive: marked out in pink, signposted “Respectfully reserved for women”, and around 30cm wider than normal. The slots at the Dashijiedaduhui – or “World Metropolis” – centre have sparked debate in China, which officially embraces gender equality but where old-fashioned sexism is rife in reality. The 10 spaces outside the main entrance were provided after women had trouble parking in the standard basement slots, managers said.
It’s not an insult to women at all. If their parking spaces are larger, it’s only for practical reasons. It doesn’t mean that women drive less well than men.
Yang Hongjun, mall manager
Outraged commentators on Chinese social media accused the mall managers of sexism and cliched thinking. “This is supposed to respect women, but actually it’s an insult,” said one. The mall managers deny the allegation. “We just wanted to make things easier for women, who make up most of our customers,” said Yang Hongjun, a woman herself.