Saudi readers will be amused to read recent press reports that a shopping center in China has established exclusive parking spaces for women drivers. When Saudi women are finally allowed to drive an entire infrastructure around their new found freedom will have to be established.
Female licensing staff will be required to test drivers and issue licenses. A professional all female traffic police force to deal with accidents and maintain order on the roads will cruise Saudi city streets.
Perhaps the only thing missing may be routine road blocks on the eve of public holidays. Breathalyzer tests seem unnecessary in a nation where consumption of alcohol is severely punished.
Saudi women have some liberating, and employment opportunities, to look forward to in the years to come.
The Chinese problem is more familiar to most drivers, traffic accidents. That is, normal accidents on roads and (not so normal) accidents inside parking lots. It is estimated that almost 74,000 people were killed by road accidents in China in 2008. Granted, that is not a lot for a population of over one billion people but it is still over 200 deaths a day.
Traffic does not normally make the news. This article did because of the female only parking spaces.
The spaces are special and cater to women's "strong sense of colour and different sense of distance," said an official for the shopping center. In layman terms, the shopping center does not want lady drivers to damage parked cars. Hence, it has provided them with lots which are "one meter wider than normal parking spaces."
I know that women and women have different bone structures. Even mental thought patterns are allegedly different; the men are from Mars and women from Venus syndrome. Still, I was unaware that women have a different sense of distance!
I guess women should be happy about the special treatment from the shopping center. Or will the feminists be screaming blue murder at another slight from a male dominated world?
Given the problems of parking in most cities of the world, maybe it's the men who should feel angry about the arrangement. It is the men who have fewer parking spots at their disposal.
How long before freelance women drivers stand at the mall entrance 'renting' their services for 'valet' parking? The Chinese are an entrepreneurial lot and there are precedents in other cities.
Drivers in Jakarta, Indonesia routinely 'rent' passengers so they may avoid traffic congestion and drive in the designated car pool lane.