The Beijing police have a huge task managing the Chinese capital’s growing number of cars on the road. Most recently, the city has issued a set of safety tips directed specifically at Beijing’s female drivers, which many have criticized as sexist.
The Beijing police released the driving tips on their official Weibo microblog account, determining what they believe were common driving mistakes among women. The memo, titled “Female drivers, please pay attention and avoid driving mistakes,” has received its share of criticism for painting female drivers as inept and easily confused, making them hazardous to everyone on the road.
“The handbrake is normally used to keep the car stationary,” the memo starts. “A lot of new female drivers often start to drive in a hurry without releasing the hand brake.”
“Some female drivers lack a sense of direction, they often can’t decide which way to go when they drive,” the Beijing police said. “Once they realize their mistake, it’s too late, and they cause accidents by spinning the steering wheel in panic.” The police went on to say that sometimes women’s bad memory can also impair driving ability. “This is particularly so when [they] drive on roads such as elevated bridges. They often can’t find the entrance or the exit.” In a section titled “lacking a sense of direction” the memo says, “on their own, they can’t remember how to find places which they have been to several times.”
It goes on to detail how women are usually unable to calmly respond in car accidents. “Women drivers are prone to panic after an accident. They usually draw a complete mental blank, providing opportunities for criminals,” they warned.
The post on Weibo has since gone viral, with many people responding to the so-called helpful tips, including many women. According to the BBC, one blogger commented on the post writing: “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 netizen understood that the post was well-intentioned, but still felt the memo was unnecessarily targeting women.
The Beijing police have left the post up and but have not responded to criticism.