Women in Parking — It is Sexist?


Women in Parking — It is Sexist?

I am working with Colleen Niese on the WIP issue of Parking Today. Melissa Sterzick wrote an article for the edition which pointed out that one of the problems women have is that they are trying so hard to be the same as men, but they aren’t.

She noted that Australia has a garage with “pink” parking spaces reserved for women. Some, including some women, consider this sexist. She titled her article “Different but Equal.”

An article I read about special parking bays for women made me contemplate how I really feel about accommodating the differences between the sexes. The Pier Street Car Park, in Perth, Australia has designated 28 parking spots just for women. The spots are painted pink and labeled and the area includes upgraded lighting and extra CCTV cameras. Compliance is optional and the parking garage’s management hopes the honor system will handle enforcement for them.

When I try to think about it objectively, my opinion is that men and women need different things to succeed and they need different things to be safe. Fulfilling those needs is a good idea.

Anyone who has lived on this planet for more than a few years knows that men and women are different. Not only in their physical abilities, but also in how they think and how they live their lives. So its not unreasonable for an organization to be founded with the idea that there are differences, and that both sexes need to have those pointed out and considered.

There is no question that women are most often targeted for crime. Its also a fact that women shy away from parking structures and would prefer to park in an open lot. They know inherently that a surface lot is safer than a huge structure. So why is it unreasonable to have spots with extra security, lighting, and locations near elevators and exits.

It is also true that as Melissa points out, men and women need different things to succeed. A woman might need more information to move forward with a project than a man. Not that the man is smarter, but a woman is wired to want to be as knowledgeable as possible. Lets face it, men often succeed by simply ‘muddling through.”

But often those additional tools a woman needs to succeed aren’t apparent. Having a mentor (From Women in Parking, for instance) to help her overcome the frustrations of lack of information isn’t only handy, it can be essential.

There have been few studies done to ‘prove’ women multitask better than men. In one study there was the following conclusion:

Men and women under time pressure had to juggle simple mathematics problems, answer the phone and decide how to find something lost in a field. During the study, the women were found to be calmer, better organized and planned more carefully than the men. But even if this difference is real, we still don’t know whether it is biological or culturally imposed.

And frankly, do we or should we care (Biological vs cultural). Its it there, its there.

I think Melissa has hit it on the head.  Different but Equal. Read her entire article in the upcoming July issue of Parking Today, powered by Women in Parking.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. A comment John, from a UK perspective

    You say that “There is no question that women are most often targeted for crime” and this is an oft held and stated opinion. However, is it actually true? I do remember some years ago that in London the red top press was screaming that the streets of London were no longer safe for women with, in some cases the level of hysteria reaching the point where some suggested nighttime curfews for men. When some very silly people had dug some very deep holes The Met Police published the statistics. The number of attacks on men were significantly higher than on women. What are the actual statistics in the USA?

    I am not for a moment suggesting that one attack is not one too many, regardless of the victim’s gender; and recognise that there may well be a sexual context when a woman is attacked which could be very traumatic. Surely though as an industry our aim should be to make our facilities safe for people, which axiomatically makes them safer for women. My worry is that the “Perth Pink Paint Job” implies a mind set that says “Your safe over here but go over there an your on your own!”

  2. “Lets face it, men often succeed by simply ‘muddling through.”

    Huh? Now that is sexist. I’m female and I muddle sometimes.

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