China

Beijing police accused of sexism towards women drivers

  • 30 October 2013
  • From the section China
A woman drives her car on a street in Shanghai on October 30, 2013
Beijing police believe that women drivers are lack of sense of direction while driving

Police in China's capital, Beijing, have been accused of sexism over safety tips targeting women drivers.

On their official microblog account, police identify what they regard as common driving mistakes among women.

They include a lack of sense of direction, forgetting to release the handbrake while driving and failing to change gear.

The tips have drawn a series of critical responses from indignant women drivers.

Screen shot of Beijing police microblog posting on safe driving tips for women
Beijing police's safe driving tips for women have not necessarily gone down well with their target audience

In the post, titled "Female drivers, please pay attention and avoid driving mistakes", police start with the basics.

"The handbrake is normally used to keep the car stationary. A lot of new female drivers often start to drive in a hurry without releasing the handbrake," it said.

"This increases resistance to the car and results in consuming more fuel."

Police have also identified what they regard as another common mistake by women drivers - their alleged inability to remember roads and directions.

"Some female drivers lack a sense of direction and are often hesitant as to which roads to take.

"This is particularly so when [they] drive on roads such as elevated bridges. They often can't find the entrance or the exit. They can't remember how to find places which they have been to several times."

They also touch upon issues such as accelerating and braking abruptly.

The microblog post on the popular Chinese version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, has attracted over 50 responses - most, purportedly, from women.

One writes: "How can police post on the official account an article which so blatantly discriminates against women? Most of the safety issues are common to new drivers of both sexes. Why make a particular point about women?"

Another responds: "If this post appeared in the United States, I could go to court to sue them."

Some are more polite in their comments. One user said the safety tips were well-intentioned, "but there is no need to pick on women drivers".

Beijing police have so far not responded, but have allowed the comments to remain on the account.

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