American is shocked to discover Germany has special parking spots just for women

A viral TikTok exposed a secret perk to being a woman in Germany: You get reserved spots in parking garages.

A German woman named Janine (@janineandgen) shared the video. Janine lives in the U.S. but was visiting her home country with her girlfriend, Gen, when the subject came up.

“What’s frauen parkplatz?” Gen asks Janine as the two women walk through a parking garage.

“It’s for women,” Janine responds, though that only confuses Gen even more.

“So only women can park here?” asks Gen. “Why?”

“Because they’re a little bit bigger,” Janine explains.

“The spots are bigger? What the f***,” Gen says.

Turns out, there really are designated spots for women — but the reason is a point of contention.

According to TikTok comments, many people feel it’s for safety reasons.

“they are closer to the entrance and have cameras. So safer,” one TikToker explained in the comments.

“Usually they’re nearer to the exit, not in far away corners, more lights, and they have cctv,” added someone else. “Same for family spaces (bigger tho).”

“More space for moms to take their babies/kids in/out of the car too!” explained another person.

In fact, other European countries have similar spots.

“Same in Switzerland, closer to the entrance and cameras, nothing to do with size,” one person wrote.

But others had a different take on why the parking spots exist — one that’s considerably less kind.

“I thought it was because they needed a wider turn to not hit adjacent vehicles,” one person commented.

“Safer: for people parking next to them, less risk for denting your door,” another remarked.

“That’s to keep all the men’s cars safe from being bumped or scratched,” said someone else.

According to USA Today, women-only parking spots came about in the 1990s to protect women from sexual assault. But over the years, they have drawn criticism as some perceive them to be sexist.

In 2015, Frankfurt Airport came under fire for painting these parking spots pink.

“In Germany, it is a legal requirement to provide these designated parking spaces for women — with proximity to the terminal entrances,” Frankfurt Airport spokesman Robert Payne told USA Today at the time.

Payne added that the spots were painted pink simply for “quick and easy recognition by women drivers — sometimes traveling with children.”

But not everyone viewed them that way.

“It’s very patronizing for women to be singled out this way,” Geraldine Herbert, editor of Wheels for Women magazine, told The Local in response to the controversy.

The fact that the spots were bigger and wider also felt like it carried some extra meaning.

According to Herbert, they only “reinforce the stereotype that women are bad at parking.” If anything, she added, all parking spaces should be bigger to accommodate larger cars and SUVs, which have become the norm.

In an essay for Medium that same year, an American living in Germany wrote that some areas designate 10-30% of the spaces for women.

In this case, the author was grateful.

“Because I’ve spent possibly too much time researching sexual assault statistics, I know in the United States, 1 in 12 completed or attempted sexual assaults occur in parking garages,” wrote the article’s author, Lauren Longo. “One in twelve.”

In addition to the parking spots, Janine has surprised her girlfriend with a lot of cultural differences in Germany.

In one video, she explains how common it is to open packs of water bottles or other drinks at the grocery store and simply purchase one.

In another, Gen seems confused as to why Germans pump their gas first and pay afterward, which is the opposite of America.

“But what if you steal the gas?” she asks Janine.

“Why would you steal the gas, there are cameras everywhere?” Janine asks.

Despite these little differences, none have drawn as much commentary as the “frauen parkplatz” thing. So far, the video has 15.7 million views and counting.

In The Know by Yahoo is now available on Apple News — follow us here!

The post American is shocked to discover Germany has special parking spots just for women appeared first on In The Know.

More from In The Know:

Woman impulsively places $82,000 bid on home, accidentally wins: ‘I’m going to have to find a second job’

Family gets '300-year-old' surprise when they start renovating their home

I'm a lifestyle editor, and these 18 April Nordstrom new arrivals are already in my cart

Amazon shoppers just found the perfect lightweight shoe you'll wear all summer: 'Totally live up to the hype'

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.