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Melbourne trials 'female' traffic lights

The move was made as part of an attempt to “reduce unconscious bias”.

THE CITY OF Melbourne has replaced male figures on traffic lights with female ones, in a move it is said will play a role in reducing “unconscious bias” between the genders.

The Equal Crossings Initiative kicked off this week, with 10 female pedestrian figures installed at road crossings between Swanston and Flinders streets as part of a 12-month trial.

The Committee for Melbourne is spearheading the project, and is a not-for-profit striving for equal representation of men and women across the state of Victoria.

Martine Letts, the Committee’s chief executive, told the ABC that having only men at pedestrian crossings reinforced a bias against women.

She said: “The idea is to install traffic lights with female representation, as well as male representation, to help reduce unconscious bias… 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 added that it was a “practical and meaningful way” to remind people that 50% of the population are female.

The initiative doesn’t have widespread support, however.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle told the Herald Sun said the move was likely to lead to ridicule.

He said: “I’m all for doing anything we can for gender equality, but really? Unfortunately, I think this sort of costly exercise is more likely to bring derision.”

While some questioned the use of a dress to represent women, others said it was an example of political correctness “gone mad”.

So, what do you think? Is having female figures on pedestrian lights a good idea?


Poll Results:

No (2494)
No interest/No opinion (1710)
Yes (1007)



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Sean Murray

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