A German man is suing his local council over “female-only” parking spaces.
The special car spaces have been installed in a public car park after a woman was sexually assaulted nearby.
Dominik Bayer claims the reserved spots discriminate against both men and women.
He believes they suggest women ‘need looking after’ and contravene Germany’s General Act on Equal Treatment.
German man sues council
The Bavarian town of Eichstätt, installed the “women-only” car spots as a result of an attack on a woman in 2016.
The car park is close to a nursing home, where female workers start and finish shifts early morning and late night.
The new car spaces are located close to entrances and exists, and are well lit to make parking there safer.
The town’s legal officer, Hans Bittl, said the spots are only a suggestion to encourage men to leave them free for women.
Furthermore, he said any man who parks in one will not be prosecuted.
What the law says
Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims says in Australia, female-only car spaces might not be discriminatory.
“If an organisation wants to make something “women only” they have to apply for a special exemption,” he said.
“That’s how some gyms are allowed to cater only to women, and some gay clubs are allowed to ban women.
“But these car spaces are a public safety issue, and there are exemptions that allow discrimination when it comes to health and safety.”
Mr Hefferan says discrimination happens when someone is treated less favourably, than someone else, on the basis of an attribute like:
- their race,
- skin colour,
- or gender.
“The problem Mr Bayer has with his case, is that the local council in Germany has said that the female-only spots are just a suggestion,” he said.
“Therefore, if he parks there, he won’t get a ticket – so he’s not being treated less favourably at all.”
Are extra-wide parking spaces for women ‘sexist’?
Meanwhile, extra-wide parking bays designed for women who can’t reverse park, have caused a sexism row in China.
The larger spots, which are 50 percent bigger than a regular parking bay, are aimed at women who “have trouble reversing”.
They are outlined with pink paint, and feature a pink skirt-wearing figure in the middle.
Similar “women-only” parking bays have also been introduced in South Korea.
The spots there are wider and longer than the country’s standard bays, and they are also marked with pink outlines.
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