SYDNEY—A ground-breaking trial of female traffic light signals aimed at tackling sexism has begun in Melbourne.
Ten female figures will be installed on traffic lights in Melbourne’s CBD, replacing the silhouette of a man which has become the global standard.
The female figures will occupy Melbourne’s busiest intersections for 12 months as part of a trial which was backed by the Committee for Melbourne, a non-profit organization made up of 120 local businesses and community groups.
Martine Letts, the CEO of the committee, said only having traffic signals in the shape of men discriminated against women.
“The idea is to install traffic lights with female representation, as well as male representation, to help reduce unconscious bias,” Letts told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Tuesday.
“Unconscious bias reinforces stereotypes and influences daily decisions and attitudes,” she told News Limited.
“The Equal Crossings initiative will draw our attention to these issues in a practical and positive way.”
Letts said ideally men and women would be represented at 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,” she said.
“The aim is to move towards one-to-one male and female representation across the state of Victoria.”
The program was supported by Victorian Governor Linda Dessau and was funded by the Committee for Melbourne.
“Some people have expressed a little scepticism wondering whether it’s gesture politics rather than having any real substance,” she said.
“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.”