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Do We REALLY Need Female Symbols at the Crossing Lights?

Do We REALLY Need Female Symbols at the Crossing Lights?

Social Media has been on FIRE today after the public learned that a decision has been made to install an equal amount of ‘female’ symbols vs ‘male’ symbols at the crossing lights in the city. We have been told that this is being done to address sexism and equality and it has been timed to coincide with International Women’s Day tomorrow which of course is wholeheartedly supported…..but…

Is this political correctness gone overboard?

The majority of you out there are saying yes it is and that this idea of changing the symbol is sexism in itself by inferring that a woman needs to be seen in a dress!

Others are saying they had no idea the original symbol even had a gender and that lots of women wear pants.

I just read a moment ago that maybe we should consider replacing some of the zebra crossings with leopard crossings so we aren’t species discriminatory.

But the biggest outcry is the money it’s going to cost. Money that very clearly could be spent on so many other pressing issues like the desperate homeless situation we have in Melbourne at the moment or the deplorable and congested road system we have which makes it almost impossible to even get in or out of the city in the first instance. Yeah hello Vic Roads (supporters of this project) – how about fixing that first?

Or, is our anger misspent? Female symbols were introduced in the German city of Dortmund some time ago to address gender equality (but bear in mind that their original figure, unlike our simple stick figures is undeniably male in appearance). This plan was not without its’ own controversy as the female version was also deemed sexist with a plait and skirt claimed to make her an outdated stereotype of femininity.

And also tying in with International Women’s day Spain has just unveiled its’ new set of traffic lights with another female symbol displayed.

Vienna took things one step further with the introduction of gay symbols in the form of same sex couples holding hands with a love heart above them.

Again, is this political correctness gone insane or is this a necessary and valid step to take?

The Committee of Melbourne says that “having green or red silhouettes only of men at traffic lights reinforces unconscious bias by discriminating against women.”

The initiative is kicking off this week with 10 female pedestrian figures to be installed at the intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets. Approved by VicRoads the organisers will seek changes to the Road Safety Act to achieve 1:1 male and female representation at crossings across the state in the long term.

More than 5400 people have voted on a poll asking whether Victoria’s pedestrian crossings should have an equal number of female and male walking signals.

94% of respondents have voted No.

This morning, Equality Minister Martin Foley said it was important to have women equally represented across society. He said he had not thought about the traffic light symbols before but that “it doesn’t mean it’s not an important issue”.

State Minister for Women and for the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson said there were many small but significant ways women were excluded from public space. “I’m thrilled to see pedestrian crossing lights use a woman’s figure,” she said.

What’s next? Do we need Plus-Size male and female figures so we don’t seem to be discriminating against overweight people?


Carolyn Murphy

Carolyn Murphy

Carolyn Murphy is a married mother of three and regularly provides us with recipes and strange but true stories about her life. When she’s not here, she can also be found on her website where all her other recipes are located!

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