'Feminism at its worst': Female pedestrian crossing lights stir debate in Australia

Mar 08, 2017, 00:19
'Feminism at its worst': Female pedestrian crossing lights stir debate in Australia

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.

Australians in Melbourne have started a 12-month trial to combat "unconscious bias" towards women by installing female traffic light signals.

Female traffic light signals are installed an intersection in Melbourne, Australia on March 7, 2017.

Lobby group Committee For Melbourne, who organised the campaign, said having only green or red silhouettes of men discriminated against women.

"The Equal Crossings initiative will draw our attention to these issues in a practical and positive way", Committee for Melbourne's CEO, Martine Letts, said in a statement.

The not-for-profit organisation comprises over 120 businesses and community groups and is aiming to have equal representation of women and men at every crossing in Victoria.

"Unconscious bias reinforces stereotypes and influences daily decisions and attitudes".

It seems that social media comments on Tuesday are confusing last year's suffragette-looking efforts with the latest, more minimal take on a female figure.

Robert Doyle, the lord Mayor of Melbourne, also criticized the campaign saying this kind of costly exercise was likely to bring "derision".

"We have been voted the world's most liveable city six times in a row, and we should also aim to be the world's most equal city".

Public reaction has been mixed with one user sarcastically noting that "setting money on fire would achieve" for gender equality as changing the traffic lights to women.

Victorian Minister for Women Fiona Richardson said there were "many small - but symbolically significant - ways that women are excluded from public space".

Past year the City of Yarra area commemorated its first female councillor, Mary Rogers, in a walking signal at an intersection in Richmond.