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I've seen in several places in Germany that there are parking places which are reserved for women, in one such parking garage there was a sign saying that they are reserved due to "safety reasons".

What is the reason that such parking places exist?

How is it (if at all) enforced?

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    Note that there are also two parking spaces reserved for men in Germany. – Heinzi Sep 14 '17 at 17:38
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    Those are but a joke, though :) – Noldor130884 Sep 15 '17 at 10:40
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    @Heinzi I'm actually a bit amazed at that. Even the mayor publically suggesting that women can't park a car into a tricky spot without crashing into things... even as a joke I thought you couldn't get away with that sort of talk these days, especially in Europe, and doubly so in a country with such spectacular female driving role models as Sabine Schmitz! WTF. – J... Sep 15 '17 at 15:07
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The main reason that women parking places exist is that parking areas are often considered as creepy. At some time they are completely deserted so you hear only the deep humming of the fluorescent tubes, every step (with high heels) announces loudly your presence (and that you are a woman, by the way), there is often bad lighting, few exits and both cars and the pillars are allowing people (in your vivid fantasy) to watch you without being seen. In short, eerie, scary, sinister.

It depends on the parking area if there are any legal means to enforce the reservation for women.

Once the owner admits that the StVO (the German road law) is valid (This is automatically the case if there are no effective borders to prevent access in contrast to e.g. multi-storey car parks), the owner cannot prohibit the usage by men. But if the owner has their own terms (as being said, all multi-storey car parks or workplaces with their own parking places) the current interpretation of the law permits the owner to exclusively reserve places for women and according to a decision in 2011 (LAG Rheinland-Pfalz, 2011-09-29 10 Sa 314/11) it does not discriminate against men.

The current state is that is not really enforced, but culturally accepted to give women a more secure feeling. These places are very near to the entrance, have good lighting and camera supervision. It is really more about a secure feeling, there is no statistical indication that attacks are prevented by those places nor that even attacks in parking houses are more common than in other places.

The actual usage is that it is impolite to use them as men if there are free places left, but once the places are full, they will be used, too.

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    Neon tubes? Are parking lots in Germany lit by Neon? Maybe they are Fluorescent tubes, or perhaps some sort of sodium vapor lighting or mercury-vapor lights? – Johnny Sep 15 '17 at 0:36
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    @Johnny they are Fluorescent tubes but in German, it is common to refer to them as "neon tubes". – Peter Humburg Sep 15 '17 at 3:08
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    What happens if a man parks there when it's full, but when he's about to leave there are lots of other spaces empty? Do people look down on him? :) – Mehrdad Sep 15 '17 at 3:55
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    @Mehrdad I don't think so. At least I wouldn't. It is far more rude in my opinion to block a parking spot for the handicapped. If you do that I will despise you. – Ian Sep 15 '17 at 6:47
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    I always thought they were wider than all other parking slots so that women have it easier to park the car and not damage the surroundings. I am living in germany since 20 years and never realized that it is for security of the woman rather than the security of other cars since its a common prejudice that women can't drive or park. @glglgl this is what the shield looks like – XtremeBaumer Sep 15 '17 at 13:52
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Those parking places are designed so that woman do not have to walk alone in the night through the whole parking area. Especially parking decks can big big with several floors etc. and in the evening they are not very frequented and light conditions are more dim and dusky. Those places are usually close to the exit of the respective parking area (first floor, close to the vending machines, elevators etc.). They exist to minimize the chances of assaults on woman. However, this does not mean that we have a high rate of assaults on women here in germany. Rather, it displays the demand for very high security and - my opinion - it is primarily for people to feel safe. If it is a real improvement - I do not know if there are any numbers. But often it is important to feel safe for the society.

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