Melbourne to trial pedestrian crossing lights with women figures

Ten lights with female figures will be trialled for 12 months in Melbourne in an effort to ‘reduce unconscious bias’.

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Ten lights will be trialled at the intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets in the centre of Melbourne as part of the ‘Equal Crossings’ campaign.

According to the Committee for Melbourne, swapping the traditional male figures in pedestrian crossing lights with women is a step towards gender equality and the trial scheme will help “reduce unconscious bias.”

“The idea is to install traffic lights with female representation, as well as male representation, to help reduce unconscious bias,” told Martine Letts, the committee’s chief executive to the ABC. “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.”

The initiative was launched by the Committee for Melbourne, a not-for-profit organisation of more than 120 community groups and business, who are aiming at equal representation for men and women in the Australian state of Victoria.

“Some people have expressed a little scepticism wondering whether it’s gesture politics rather than having any real substance,” said Victorian Governor Linda Dessau in the ABC report. “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.”

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