Women's Day: Push for 'Female' Traffic Signals Causes a Stir in Australia

Critics are seeing red over the push for an equal amount of male and female pedestrian lights. Source AAP

"The idea is to install traffic lights with female representation, as well as male representation, to help reduce unconscious bias", Martine Letts, the CEO of the Committee for Melbourne, a nonprofit coalition that is composed of more than 120 community organizations and businesses, told ABC.

Therefore, traffic signs throughout one of the city's main intersections are now being replaced with lights that display dress-clad female figures.

Ten lights at a crossing in the heart of the city will feature the tweaked signals for the next 12 months as a trial, reports the Guardian.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: FTen female pedestrian crossing signals are being installed as part of a 12-month trial in an aim to address unconscious gender bias.

She said the ultimate goal of the campaign was to have a "one-to-one" representation of male and female pedestrians icons across the state of Victoria.

The trial programme in Melbourne is created to "reduce unconscious bias", said to the lobby group behind them.

Now we have to change half of all pedestrian crossing "green man" icons to women, for gender equality.

According to local estimates, it'll cost about $8,400 to change six traffic lights and ensure women feel included when they step onto a crosswalk.

Criticism was also expressed on social media. "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".

'Unfortunately, I think this sort of costly exercise is more likely to bring derision'.

"There are many small - but symbolically significant - ways that women are excluded from public space", Ms. Richardson said.

The move comes exactly a year after the Yarra district in Melbourne paid tribute to the city's' first female councillor, Mary Rogers, by placing her silhouette in a pedestrian crossing.



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