Parking for Women

I took this photo in a parking garage in Turin. The sign translates as:

Parking Spot Reserved for Women

IMG_0226 riservato donne

I had a couple different reactions to this sign: on one hand, I was grateful, because the spot was wider than the others, and because it was closer to the door.

On the other hand, is the implication that women are not as capable of parking in narrower spots or that they need to be closer to the exit? In that case, I was ready to be offended.

This is the first time I've seen this sign in Italy, and it surprised me a little (but not a lot) to see it in the more progressive north as opposed to the south, where – to generalize – women have more traditional roles.

I honestly don't know the reason behind the sign, and neither did the friend I was with, who is a native Italian (and career-oriented woman with a Ph.D) and lives in Turin. She was just excited that the parking spot was available, and who cared why. Okay, why not? I joined in her enthusiasm, and I found her reaction interesting (most of the North American and British women I know would be indignant). But I still took the photo, and I still wonder.

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Posted by on Dec 23, 2008 in Italian Culture | 2 Comments


  1. Cath
    March 2, 2009

    I think the idea is that it is closer to the exit so that women don’t feel so threatened going to collect their cars at night. Quite a sad reason really.

  2. Madeline
    March 2, 2009

    Cath, thanks for your comment – I hadn’t considered that possibility and was truly puzzled! Anything that increases safety is a good thing though yes a bit sad.