Drivers in the South Korean capital Seoul will soon be greeted by a new type of parking space aimed at making the process easier for the country’s lady drivers.
In a move that would no doubt cause uproar here in Britain, the so-called ‘she-spots’ are longer and wider than conventional parking spaces, and are outlined in pink paint with a sign akin to a female toilet denoting their women-only usage.
The new parking spaces are part of a £55million infrastructure investment to make Seoul more appealing to female visitors. As part of the overhaul, areas with female-only parking will get upgraded lighting and will be situated nearer to amenities.
Unbelievably, pavements in the vicinity will also be resurfaced with a slightly spongy material to aid walking in high heels.
"It is like adding a female touch to a universal design and make things more comfortable for women."
While this is not the first time women-only parking has been seen, its usage has normally been limited to designated spaces close to entrances of poorly lit car parks as a public safety measure in some European nations.
It is not yet clear whether men caught using the pink spaces will face a fine.
“It is like adding a female touch to a universal design and make things more comfortable for women,” said Chon Eun-hee, assistant mayor for women and family affairs to the Korea Times newspaper.
This is not the first time authorities have come in for criticism over potentially patronising parking provisions. In 2012 the mayor of the German town of Triberg designated two spaces in a multi-storey car park as male-only, after he decided that their narrowness, awkward angle and proximity to pillars would make them too difficult for women drivers to use. Despite coming in for derision, he defends the decision as a good idea:
“I am happy, and it looks like we've hit a raw nerve in society,” mayor Strobel said. “It's been a great marketing gimmick. Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it they can see the town's attractions,” reported Der Spiegel.
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Picture: Flickr/Marshall Astor