A shopping centre in China has found itself caught in allegations of sexism, after it introduced extra-wide parking spaces for women.
Hundreds of Chinese and foreign netizens have labelled the act as 'sexist'.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting a user from China's microblogging site Weibo, questioned: "Isn't that insulting females' driving ability?"
The extra-wide parking spaces, which are marked with a sign reading: 'Respectfully reserved for women', are located outside the World Metropolis (Dashijiedaduhui) centre in Dalian city in the Liaoning province.
The shopping centre has reserved 10 parking spaces, all painted in pink and 30 centimeters extra-wide, exclusively for women, the Daily Mail reported.
This is fantastic! Bigger parking spots for women. Maybe China isn't so bad. http://t.co/rSsZlXIbN8
— Joe Ayoub (@Nort0nAntiVirus) July 22, 2014
— vivia chen (@lawcareerist) July 22, 2014
— Carla Rifaterra (@Carla_rif) July 21, 2014
— Amanda Kelso (@atkelso) July 22, 2014
The perks of being a woman driver?
However, it should be noted that Dalian is not the first or only city in China to have such exclusive parking spots for women drivers.
Back in 2010, the WSJ had reported that the Wonder Mall in Shijiazhuang city in the Hebei province had reserved one of their three underground parking garages exclusively for women.
These parking zones were 80 centimeters wide and the walls were painted with 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, to help the female driver remember where she had parked. Besides, there were also attendants in these zones to help women park.
Similarly in 2009, Seoul also had around 5,000 parking spaces near mall entraces painted in pink, marked exclusively for women drivers; the point being female drivers need not walk a long distance after parking, Time reported.