Have you ever seen female figures in the traffic lights at intersections? Definitely not. But this is set to change on this International Women’s Day. The change has begun in the city of Melbourne. A lobby group has installed 10 female pedestrian figures in the form of traffic lights in the heart of Melbourne in order to send out a message of gender equality.
— Jodi Lee (@jodilee_7) March 6, 2017
In each intersection from Swanston and Flinders streets, these female figure traffic lights are set to show its pedestrians the right direction for a 12-month trial, ABC reports. Ten female traffic light figures have been installed in the Melbourne City Centre.
— ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) March 7, 2017
— Committee for Melb (@Committee4Melb) March 7, 2017
A non-profit, Committee of Melbourne, is behind this move, which has got the support of more than 120 Melbourne business and community groups.
— Jodi Lee (@jodilee_7) March 6, 2017
“The idea is to install traffic lights with female representation, as well as male representation, to help reduce unconscious bias,” said Chief executive Martine Letts
Letts also said the fact that we often ignore this, but having green or red silhouettes of men is a discriminated stereotype. Having women excluded from a very normal but everyday used space is simply biased and by changing that, vast awareness can be created. Hence, a new start of placing women’s silhouette alongside men signs.
According to Letts, the group wants both female and male representation on all pedestrian crossings.
“We know that Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city and we would really like to see Melbourne also known as the world’s most equal city. The aim is to move towards one-to-one male and female representation across the state of Victoria. But these symbols are a practical and meaningful way to demonstrate that in fact 50 per cent of our population is female and should therefore also be represented at traffic lights.”
As exciting as it sounds, the focus is to make public places more inclusive of women, Minister for Women Fiona confirmed.
The statement reads:
“There are many small — but symbolically significant — ways that women are excluded from public space. A culture of sexism is made up of very small issues, like how the default pedestrian crossings use a male figure — and large issues such as the rate of family violence facing women.”
By giving women wings to conquer a male-dominated area as this, let’s hear what pedestrians have to say:
Better equality PR would be if Melbourne left pedestrian light signals the same and said "See, it doesn't matter what women choose to wear!"
— Tudor Holton (@LordHootNut) March 6, 2017
Oooooh now deal with violence against women and workplace discrimination. https://t.co/mTjNXMi4LZ
— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) March 6, 2017
— Melanie OBrien (@DrMelOB) March 6, 2017
However, the step has evoked a negative reaction too. Some are calling it a cringe equality drive, asking can’t women wear trousers too?
— Sue #TeamTommy (@OZzSue1) March 6, 2017
@abcnewsMelb what a waste of money. It's purely a political stunt. If people are so concerned why not just have WALK and DONT WALK?
Female pedestrian crossing figures…. The world has officially gone mad.
— Melanie (@melleegee) March 7, 2017
"Feminism" at its worst
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Feature Image Credit: IBTimes UK
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