Melbourne Takes Gender Equality To A Whole New Level Through Traffic Lights

Gender bias is rooted in the smallest of things. Just take for a fact that our identity proofs seldom ask for mother’ name! Of how pink is for girls and blue is for boys, while colour has nothing to do with gender. Gender bias is fed from the tiniest of details, that we take for granted every day. And when we talk about bringing in gender equality, the approach has to be somewhere in the most inane things that shape the perception of the society.

Melbourne, Australia has been in news for its latest step towards achieving gender equality using traffic lights, bring the most controversial change to the pedestrian traffic light signal ever.

On March 7, the city changed the usual pant wearing male stick figure in the traffic signal to a female stick figure wearing a dress.

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While it may sound a little awkward as to how do you just define a woman or a man by what they’re wearing since even women could be wearing pants, Melbourne’s latest experiment aims to look at the impact these daily routine things have on people’s minds.

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According to bias expert Janet Crawford, there are three ways to undue gender bias in the society. (1) build awareness through observation, (2) use whatever power you have to correct bias when you see it and improve representation, and (3) look for ways you can improve overall culture (whether it’s company culture, societal, or something else). Hence, clearly, there is a huge part the smallest of things would create in changing people’s mindsets about gender.

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Would change the gender of the icon in traffic signal lights bring about a change or not? Well, only time can tell.

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