German man sues town for discrimination over ‘woman-only’ parking spaces
Dominik Bayer, 25, from North Rhine-Westphalia, appeared at a hearing at the Administrative Court in Munich, Bavaria, on Wednesday saying: “I feel discriminated against as a man.”
Bayer argued that he is fighting for “equal rights for men and women” because the signs were not only discriminatory against men, they were also offensive to women by implying they “are weaker,” reports Spiegel.
Bayer noticed the signs reading ‘Only for Women’ while visiting a friend in the Bavarian town of Eichstätt in early 2018.
The eight signs were erected over well-lit parking spaces in a large public car park of 420 spaces after a woman was raped in 2016.
Legal representatives for the town argued that the signs are needed for women’s safety as the car park is near a retirement home where many women work. Because of early morning and late evening shifts, the women are in the car park at times when they are more vulnerable to attack. They also said the signs are merely a suggestion, and men who park in those spaces would not be penalized.
“We did it purely for security reasons, because it’s statistically proven that women are more likely to be victims of [sexually] violent crime than men,” said Hans Bittl, head of the legal department in Eichstätt. Bayer countered that men can also be victims of violent crimes: “There are also small and weaker men.”
Nevertheless, as a compromise the town officials were ordered to change the wording of the signs to make it clear that the reservation is only a recommendation, and not a legal rule. Bayer agreed that with a sign change, the parking spaces can remain.
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