Melbourne has taken a step towards gender parity as new pedestrian traffic lights featuring a female figure are installed this morning at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets.
The Equal Crossings initiative, a project of the Future Focus Group, the Committee for Melbourne’s business and civic leadership program, aims to promote gender equality, reduce unconscious bias and stimulate public discussion in a highly visible way.
“Unconscious bias reinforces stereotypes and influences daily decisions and attitudes. The Equal Crossings initiative will draw our attention to these issues in a practical and positive way, said Committee for Melbourne CEO, Martine Letts.
“We have been voted the world’s most liveable city six times in a row, and we should also aim to be the world’s most equal city.”
Victorian Minister for Women and for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson said "there are many small - but symbolically significant - ways that women are excluded from public space. I'm thrilled to see pedestrian crossing lights use a woman's figure. This is a wonderful way to make public space more inclusive of women."
The initiative has received widespread support from Melbourne businesses and the community including from Governor of Victoria and Future Focus Group Patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC and Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, Carol Schwartz.
In the short term, the initiative is focused on achieving equal representation at pedestrian crossings within the CBD. In the long term, the Equal Crossings initiative aims to achieve 1:1 male and female representation across the state via legislative change to the Road Safety Act.
For more information about the Equal Crossings initiative, please visit: vimeo.com/fedsquare/changethelights