Gender equality has been at the centre of several discussions for a long while, and this city in Australia has now taken it to traffic lights. Notice how at pedestrian traffic lights, you might not have seen many in India, always features a man’s silhouette? Well Melbourne did, and they are out to change this.
A lobby group called the Committee of Melbourne has pushed a move to ensure half the pedestrian lights in the city feature a female silhouette. Part of an initiative called Equal Crossings, its aim is to reduce unconscious bias and ensure gender equality in a public setting. They do make sense because it’s not really like only men cross streets and it’s such forms of innate bias that often pose a hurdle to the gender equality debate.
The Flinders and Swanston Streets intersection has already gotten itself their first set of gender positive lights. In the short term this initiative aims at establishing a 1:1 ratio so far as crossing lights are concerned. If this gets taken up by the road authorities however, the initiative could spread out a lot more.
Not everyone is happy with it though, some because they think this makes no sense and others are busy poking fun at how the silhouette is of a woman straight out of the 19th century. No prizes for guessing, Twitterati had something to say.
Why did the feminist get hit by car at a crossings?
Because they don’t need a pedestrian man green light telling them what to do.
— Timmy McIntyre (@IMTIMMcINTYRE_) March 6, 2017
Melbourne hurtles Australia into the 21st century by putting 19th century women at pedestrian crossings. pic.twitter.com/FFsaiaNdVS
— Jess Wheeler (@wheelswordsmith) March 7, 2017
I going to put my neck on the line here and say having pedestrian crossings which depict different genders is absolutely a POSITIVE thing
— BNEShrimper (@BNEShrimper) March 7, 2017
Forget air conditioning. Now pedestrian crossings are sexist! pic.twitter.com/3mfR7vnSaE
— Peter Lloyd (@Suffragentleman) March 6, 2017
Why the woman on the Melbourne pedestrian crossings look like she about to drop the most fire Mary Poppins tribute album of the 1910s pic.twitter.com/Nn1uYCFcPE
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 6, 2017
@theheraldsun Did the Committee for Melbourne just assume the gender of the crossing silhouette? ___
— Matty G (@mattygrierson) March 6, 2017
Finally, Melbourne is repealing their outdated law that forbids women from crossing the street without a permit between 8am and 5 pm
— phil (@Superchair14) March 6, 2017
— MLo (@MLoParis) March 7, 2017
What is this stupid shit in Melbourne of changing the crossing men to women?
How does that accommodate gender equality??
— Adri the Aussie (@adri_canna) March 7, 2017
— ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) March 6, 2017
seems to me if you’re worried about Melbourne having women on the pedestrian lights you’re probably way too sensitive about things
— Angus Livingston (@anguslivingston) March 6, 2017
We do not know if the Mary Poppins figure caused people to disagree or some simply did not like gender equality being stretched to pedestrian crossings, but reactions sure have been mixed. But then again, Twitter must troll no matter what!