Spaces in a new car park in the Black Forest town of Triberg now come with male and female symbols. The spaces for women are wider and well lit, while those for men are close to concrete pillars and can only be reversed into. Explaining the policy, Mayor Gallus Strobel said it was a natural decision because men are better at parking than women.
"In the new car park we found that two place were not rectangular, at an angle to the road and placed between walls and pillars; that makes parking difficult so we decided to allocate them to men," the 58 year-old mayor told Germany's Spiegel magazine.
But, he added, that there were great women drivers, and all women were welcome to try and park in the men-only spaces. Mr Strobel, who denies accusations of sexism, also pointed out that 10 spaces were reserved for women as opposed to just two for men.
So far the mayor says he has received mostly positive feedback despite expecting some "humourless reactions from the political correct" and being accused by one angry female critic of exhibiting "male pig-headedness. One man, the mayor reported, said he would travel to the town just to try the parking.
In an attempt to deflect any charges of sexism Mr Strobel also indicated that the whole affair may be a marketing ploy aimed at drumming up business for the small town of 5,000, more famed for its waterfalls and natural beauty than being a bastion of male chauvinism.
"I never expected this reaction," he said. "I've been on the phone all day, the TV will come. I am happy, and it looks like we've hit a raw nerve in society. 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," he added.
Original report | 11July 2012