Frankfurt Airport has pink parking spaces for women

The 250 “Ladies Parking” spaces have been scattered throughout the garages at Frankfurt Airport since 2013, but suddenly they’re super controversial and in the news.

Chalk it up to the internet (someone incorrectly dubbed them ‘new’ in a blog post and the story took off) and to our collective “Are you serious?” reaction when stereotypes surface.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Frankfurt Airport’s “Ladies Parking” for USA TODAY:

There are 14,000 parking spaces at Frankfurt Airport, but if you want one that’s “bigger, nicer and closer to the terminals,” look for spots reserved for women only.

The specially designed parking sections are scattered throughout the airport’s parking garages and are easy to find: a pink ribbon of paint on the floor marks off the wider-than-average parking spots and the pink-painted walls.

Why are they there?

“In Germany, it is a legal requirement to provide these designated parking spaces for women,” said Frankfurt Airport spokesman Robert Payne.

Why are they painted pink? “For quick and easy recognition by women drivers, who are sometimes traveling with children,” he said. And to let other drivers — i.e. men – know not to park in those spot. “They cannot say they didn’t notice the bright pink area designated for women drivers,” said Payne.

Rules requiring women-only parking sections in many parts of Germany were created more for safety than for convenience back in the 1990s.

Today many consider these set-asides patronizing and truly sexist.