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Friday, November 7, 2008

Budapest not so women-friendly?

Even though I've been living in Budapest for six years I didn't realise--until yesterday--that this city was not women-friendly at all. At least, that is what the "experts" from the local Social Research Institute are saying, as reported by Caboodle:

"At present women's perspectives are not represented either in Budapest's urban development strategy, in service planning, or crime prevention."

After this shocking revelation, the experts propose the following solutions to make Budapest a better place for ladies:

"Parking spaces designated for women, streets named after prominent women and public institutions with facilities for mothers with babies are among proposals seeking to make Budapest more women-friendly, Nepszabadsag daily said on Thursday."

So, another thing I learned yesterday (very productive day!)--that there is such a thing as a special parking for women. Perhaps this is my non-driver's perspective, but this sounds a bit condescending to me, implying, as it does, that women are less able to park properly and need special conditions. I'm sure a lot of women would be offended by the idea; as for guys, although they would probably agree that women have crappy parking skills, I'm not sure they would appreciate preferential treatment for women, given the dearth of parking spaces in downtown Budapest.

And how would you prevent guys from grabbing these spaces anyway? Well, you could paint them pink and surround them by flowers, as they do in Bern, Switzerland, where they believe that "the average male driver will be too embarrassed to use the pink parking spaces."

Fortunately for all, this eye-opening piece of research and its recommendations are probably going to be tossed on the dusty shelves of some local administrative office and quickly forgotten. How about tackling some real problems, instead? For example, making Budapest a more cycling-friendly city? Or more wheelchair-accessible? Or more green?


Alessandra said...

Hi, good arguments. However, I saw parking spaces for kismamas and women with children, if this is what they meant by having parking spaces only for women. In that case, parking was very close to the entrance. But obviously, now that I would need this parking, as my back hurts for each step, I can't find any!!!!

Jelica said...

I also heard about so called "stork parking," apparently they have it a lot in the US and it's for pregnant ladies. That makes some sense, but I'm not sure these guys had that in mind.

The other thing in the article was also a bit ambiguous, when they talk about spaces for mothers and babies in the public institutions.If they mean special rooms where moms can breastfeed, that's great; but if they just mean putting a diaper-changing table in the womens' toilet, well that really pisses me off. As if fathers can't change diapers, too!