Men's parking space

Woman parking on men's parking space (Männer-Parkplatz sign behind vehicle) in Triberg

Men's parking space is an antonym to women's parking space.

Normally mentioned only in satire, in July 2012 two men's parking spaces were opened in Triberg in the Black Forest of Germany. Planned as a practical joke presenting a specific challenge to unskilled drivers, they produced worldwide media interest in the combination of humour to lampoon the idea of political correctness and of successful city marketing.[1]

Technical and local backgroundEdit

plan of a level of the parking garage, men's parking slot with Mars symbol

Triberg, a small city of five thousand inhabitants, has an extremely steep topography. It has waterfalls. In 2010, Triberg was reportedly visited by about 250,000 tourists per year,[2] most of whom came to see the waterfalls on a day-tour basis. After the 9/11 attacks, Americans, who had been frequent visitors, became less likely to visit. That and the decline of the local watchmaking industry have caused problems for Triberg's economy.[3]

In 2007 Max-Dieter Mack[who?] presented preliminary plans for a €90 million Amusement park, Erlebniswelt Triberg, on a former industrial site in the municipality. Mack, an architect, is a Triberg native and relative of leisure park mogul Roland Mack. The parking garage at Kreuzstraße is the only planned building constructed so far. Mack was not commissioned for this.[2] Instead of the theme park, a smaller shopping mall and some comparably humble attractions are now on schedule.[4] The back of the parking garage is angled to follow the course of the River Gutach. Therefore, two parking bays, one on each level, have a peculiar shape and can be reached only by a complicated parking maneuver. Mayor Strobel and the architects, Judith Haas and Mattias Huismanns, deliberated about excluding those two bays from the garage of 220 bays, which was built for €2 million.[5][6]

Strobel decided to declare them men's parking spaces. Per the state garage regulations in force in Baden-Wuerttemberg, ten per cent of all stalls (numbering twelve and of the standard shape and size) had to be declared for women in any event,[7] but their misuse by men is not punishable according to the StVO (the federal Straßenverkehrsordnung, or Highway Code of Germany). Accordingly, the only recourse available to property owners is to eject the misuser for trespassing or to tow his (or her) car; the operator of this particular garage (i.e. the government of the city of Triberg) declines to take either of these actions and instead appeals to the honour system in the case of the women's spaces and to the skill of the driver, whatsoever his or her sex, for the 'men's'.[8]

General backgroundEdit

According to Ruth Becker's[who?] research about risk zones in town planning, women have more to fear in personal surroundings and at home, while men are the object (and dominantly subject) of attacks in the outside world.[9] Becker refers to U.S. author Elizabeth Wilson's Sphinx in the city[10] and assume that women overestimate the dangers of urban surroundings. Herbert Glasauer doubts that women's parking spaces have a positive effect, and sees them as a sort of backlash perpetuating a damsel in distress perspective instead of addressing actual violence.[9][11]

Men's parking spaces, as in the Triberg example, are for the brave[8] and ask their users to cope with risk, darkness, wilderness, and skill. Even before the Triberg controversy, for example, German satirist Florian Willet demanded in 2011 that the riskiest places in garages to be reserved for "real men".[12] An American reporter in Utah noted that an American mayor attempting to set up a men's parking space would face greater legal risk compared to Strobel.[13]


The dedication, planned as a practical joke and a way to alert unskilled drivers to the specific challenge of the two parking slots, attracted worldwide media coverage.[14][15]

US television networks, including ABC and NBC News, reported the story.[16] Becky Bratu, a news journalist with NBC News, suggested that Mayor Gallus Strobel had increased the threshold for drivers to attract more tourists. NBC News quoted Mayor Strobel's interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung to challenge political correctness, and his hope the tight spaces would be an attraction for ambitious drivers.[17]

Mayor Strobel had media contacts and interviews with French,[18][19] and English[20][21] Italian and South African media. Le Figaro quoted Strobel as stating "Une ville touristique se doit de faire parler d'elle" ("A tourist town has to make people talk about it").[18]

The Huffington Post reported: "A town in southwest Germany has drawn accusations of sexism after designating two particularly tricky parking spaces "men only".[22] The Associated Press was on site[23] and compared the Triberg Challenge to Chinese Woman only parking lots.[24] The Daily Telegraph in UK,[25] a women's magazine in Morocco,[26] and Norway's Aftenposten also all reported.[27]

Times of India reporter Kritika Kapoor wrote an article on the issue. She quoted Strobel about his secretary's failure to park on the slot, saying "Five times she tried and no success", and inviting women to stand for the challenge. "Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it, they can see the town's attractions." Kapoor pointed out that Triberg's introduction of gendered parking is not the first example of sexist parking spots.[28]

Regional feedbackEdit

A lady with a traditional Black Forest hat occupies the spot

The Greens' youth association of Ortenau wrote an open letter against the parking spots[29] and gender equality official Anette Klaas of the neighboring Waldshut-Tiengen district criticized them as "a foolhardy provocation".[30]

Strobel, who has a legal background and holds a PhD in the history of law,[31] countered that the critics were being humourless and described the dedication as usage of a cliché for city marketing.[32] Dieter Stein, a writer living in Triberg, published a humorous booklet about the story.[33] The men's parking slots are included in city tours, and Triberg also sells merchandising articles.[34]

The gender-based parking has been featured in annual TV retrospectives in Germany and South Africa. In 2013, Gallus Strobel was a guest on several television programmes, and the local carnival association baptized and tested the parking lots.[clarification needed] The number of tourists and visitors to Triberg increased to almost 400,000 in 2012, compared to 250,000 annually before.[30] Neighboring St. Georgen came up with a temporary men's parking place, in the sense of a place where men are being parked (Männergarten).[35]


  1. ^ "Triberg Mayor boosts carpark as tourist magnet". Euronews. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Millionenprojekt Erlebniswelt Triberg steht vor dem Aus Mo, 8. March 2010 00:04 Badische Zeitung
  3. ^ Siegert, Alice (March 12, 1987). "Time Running Out For Clockmakers". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ "Triberg Parkhaus statt Erlebniswelt",, 9 June 2012. (in German)
  5. ^ "Männerparkplätze" in Triberg: Besonders schwer zu beparken, Pforzheimer Zeitung, 6. July 6th 2012
  6. ^ Darum gibt es in Triberg Parkplätze nur für Männer, Welt Online, 6 July 2012. (in German)
  7. ^ "§ 4 GaVO Stellplätze und Fahrgassen, Frauenparkplätze -". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b Focus Online: "Deutschlands erste Männerparkplätze: Ist das sexistisch? Hier rangieren nur echte Kerle", retrieved 15 July 2012. (in German)
  9. ^ a b Ruth Becker Zeitschrift für Frauenforschung und Geschlechterstudien, Jg. 18, H. 4, 2000, p. 49-65 (5 Tab.); ISSN 0946-5596 Standort: USB Köln(38)-FHM XG6137
  10. ^ The sphinx in the city: urban life, the control of disorder, and women, University of California Press, 1992
  11. ^ Herbert Glasauer Gewalt ist nicht immer und überall, Georg Glasze, Robert Pütz, Manfred Rolfes: Diskurs, Stadt, Kriminalität: Städtische(Un-)Sicherheiten aus der Perspektive von Stadtforschung und kritischer Kriminalgeographie. transcript Verlag, 2005. S.206ff
  12. ^ "Deutschlands Frauen schaffen ihre Männer ab: Florian Willet erklärt weiblichen Chauvinismus",, 2011, p. 209. (in German)
  13. ^ Gender-specific parking stalls: A lawsuit waiting to happen? Rachel Lewis, 12.9.2012
  14. ^ Spiegel Online: "Hier nur Männer!",, 15 July 2012. (in German)
  15. ^ "Parkhaus-Idee macht Triberg berühmt",, 7 July 2012. (in German)
  16. ^ "Sexist Parking Plan? German Mayor Creates Male-Only Spots",
  17. ^ "German mayor designates parking spaces just for men",, 10 July 2012.
  18. ^ a b "En Allemagne, des places de parking interdites aux femmes", Le Figaro, 11 July 2012. (in French)
  19. ^ "German town's ‘male only’ parking,
  20. ^ "Weltweites Aufsehen", Schwarzwälder Bote. (in German)
  21. ^ German mayor defends 'men only' parking spaces.,, 12 July 2012.
  22. ^ "'Men Only' Parking Comes To German Town", Huffington Post, 13 July 2012
  23. ^ "German mayor defends 'men only' parking spots", Associated Press, 12 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Achtung! German mayor risks sexism row by designating tricky parking slots as 'men only'", The Daily Mail, 10 July 2012.
  25. ^ "'Easy' parking spots for women introduced by German mayor",
  26. ^ "Are women worse driver than men?",
  27. ^ Arild Færaas, "Tysk by reserverer parkeringsplasser kun for menn Byen Triberg har reservert to plasser i et parkeringsplass for mannlige sjåfører. Årsak: Det er så vanskelig å parkere der." Aftenposten, 6 July 2012. (in German)
  28. ^ "Women, a parking menace?", TNN, 6 August 2012.
  29. ^ "Offener Brief der Grünen Jugend Ortenau", (in German)
  30. ^ a b "Geschlechterkampf im Parkhaus Triberger Männerparkplätze sorgen für Furore/Für die einen ein netter Gag, für die anderen Sexismus" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine,, 23 August 2012. (in German)
  31. ^ Gallus Strobel, Zum Fabrikarbeitsvertrag in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert. Vertragsfreiheit und Kinderschutz, 1986
  32. ^ "Strobel antwortet grüner Jugend", (in German)
  33. ^ Schwarzwälder Bote: "Triberg Humorvolle Hotelgeschichten", (in Germam)
  34. ^ "Neuer Zoff um Männerparkplätze",, 17 August 2012. (in German)
  35. ^ "Modeflohmarkt mit Männerparkplatz", Schwarzwälder Bote, 19 April 2013; accessed 15 May 2013. (in German)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 48°07′48″N 8°13′52″E / 48.1301°N 8.2310°E / 48.1301; 8.2310