Le1bn1z wrote:It occurs to me that this is less a question of rights and dignity than of marketing.
If you're trying to appeal to the female market in X province of China, and the women there happen to like wider parking spaces, then why not?
In Canada, the USA and Europe we have special female-only and female-specific clubs, gyms and other facilities, because there's a market for it. There's no law requiring them, but women with money want them. So they exist.
So why not parking lots? Would anyone, man or woman, complain about having an easier time parking? Or nice colours? If the women with money in China like the idea, they'll be voting with their yuan.
Much ado about nothing, I think.
Hmmmm. I think I see both sides here. I'm put in mind of the women-only taxi services that were recently started in Dubai. Some feminist groups argued it was reinforcing the gender divide, while others argued that if there was a need in the market for a woman-only taxi service (in this case for women tired of being groped and abused on public transit), then women would ride on it, and they do. In principle, I don't like the concept of the woman-only parking lot and I certainly don't like some of the sexist underpinnings of the language promoting it (and as an Asian woman driver, the jokes get old very fast
). But it's not that big of a deal. The women will vote for it with their money.
But that (the Dubai taxis) a very different issue; as you said, there was a legitimate need for it. Discrimination aside (men have enough advantages in China that making them park in ugly garages isn't anything to have a fit over), it's pretty blatant sexism—assuming, of course, that there isn't a significant difference in parking ability between sexes (there have been studies that supposedly show that women aren't as good at certain types of spatial reasoning, but it's a highly contentious issue, and even then it wouldn't necessarily be enough to have a significant effect on one's ability to park a car—worse comes to worst, you can always just do it very slowly and adjust four or five times). Or should we have opt-in schools where (only) minorities can get better education, 'cause they're dumber (this study totally says so!)? I think the fact that this idea even made it past the most preliminary stages speaks to the fact that they... have some room for improvement regarding sexism (something that they've shown a willingness to work on in the past).
I don't mean to sound like an arrogant American, but you'd get laughed out of the room if you suggested something like this here, and with good reason. "Women can't drive because they have poor spatial perception" is a form of "Women can't do X because of sexist stereotype Y," which can have some worrisome manifestations ("Women can't do [long list of good, well-paying jobs] because they can't restrain their emotions").
And for the record, my experience is that Japanese people are better drivers than Americans; I've never been to China (I was recently run over by a Chinese delivery man, but I'd still rate him as an above-average driver compared to other Floridians).[/anecdotal]