HANGZHOU, China, June 1 (UPI) -- Officials in a Chinese city said larger parking spaces meant only for female drivers are in response to difficulties women have while parking.
The female-only spaces, designated in parking lots in the Tonglu highway service area in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, are 50 percent larger than normal parking spaces and are outlined in pink with a drawing of a skirted figure similar to one that might be found on a bathroom door.
Pan Tieyong, director of the Tonglu highway service area, said the spots were installed in response to female drivers in the area having trouble backing into spots and being seen "parking carelessly."
Pan, who said the spaces were inspired by similar schemes in other cities and abroad, said the female-only parking spots have been well received by female motorists and the highway service plans to expand the program.
The parking plan has been criticized by many on social media, with at least one Weibo user branding the spaces a form of sexism.
"True respect for women entails letting women enjoy the same rights as men," the user wrote.
Similar female-only parking spots installed in Seoul, South Korea, in 2009 are the same size as other spots, but are located closer to the doors of businesses in a bid to reduce the danger of sexual assault.