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A traffic light (Photo credit KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Stop right there

‘Female’ traffic lights in Australia are given the green light

March 7, 2017

A movement on the part of The Committee for Melbourne, a nonprofit organization in Australia, has successfully petitioned for more than 10 traffic lights in the area to be replaced with “female” figures. In an ongoing effort to expunge unconscious gender bias, the Committee for Melbourne and Camlex Electrical will be shelling out close to $8,400 to change the designated signs during a 12-month trial period. If all goes well, the hope is that eventually there will be equal representation of both female and male figures on traffic lights across the city.

While the change is well-intended, responses have been varied as to its efficacy and whether such a large sum of money could have been better allocated to more pressing needs in the community. Several dissenters on social media have pointed out that the funds could have gone toward alleviating underfunded women’s issues, or programs dealing with domestic violence and homelessness. Others have pointed out that the change itself might actually be somewhat sexist. The figure chosen for the lights will be sporting a dress like those seen on traditional bathroom signage and many are asking why the traditional design was seen as male to begin with when it could have been a woman wearing pants all along.

If the old adage rings true that society is a mirror and seeing images that represent who you are serve to inspire and encourage, then the women of Melbourne will soon see themselves crossing the street.

Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald.


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