Why a council is changing pedestrian crossing symbols to female

  • 25/05/2018

A city council is looking to introduce female symbols to pedestrian crossings in a bid to "improve gender equality".

Brimbank Council in Melbourne's west has asked for female 'walk' and 'don't walk' figures to replace the male crossing silhouettes, the Herald Sun reported.

Mayor Margaret Giudice said the change could have a larger impact on the community than most would think.

"We know that improving gender equity leads to very positive outcomes for organisations and for our community. Research shows societies with greater gender equity have lower rates of violence towards women and children.

"This council is committed to a community where men and women, and boys and girls, are treated equally."

Herald Sun columnist Susie O'Brien told breakfast TV show Sunrise the money needs to be spent on something more practical to help women.

"There is a sort of rampant radical gender ideology that seems to be driving some of these things," Ms O'Brien said.

"How putting a skirt on a stick figure crossing is going to save women from violence, I fail to see."

Ratepayers Victoria vice president Frank Sullivan said there simply had to be more pressing issues that should have the council's attention.

"Councillors have got to realise what they are elected to do - they are completely out of touch and they're moving into things that don't concern them," he told the paper.

A similar initiative in 2017 drew immediate backlash, opponents labelling it as "political correctness gone mad" and a "political stunt".

Ten female pedestrian lights costing more than AU$8,000 were installed across Melbourne's CBD as part of the controversial trial.

Evan Mulholland of free market think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs insisted there were surely better ways to spend the money.

"They should be putting their time and energy into fixing congestion on our roads [and] the Victorian Government should retreat from this politically correct trial and get on with practical solutions to deal with congestion."

Eight of Wellington's "green man" pedestrian crossing signs were changed to represent Kate Sheppard in 2014.
Eight of Wellington's "green man" pedestrian crossing signs were changed to represent Kate Sheppard in 2014. Photo credit: Newshub

In September 2014, eight of Wellington's "green man" pedestrian crossing lights were changed to represent Kate Sheppard, the woman who led the 19th Century campaign for women to get the vote in New Zealand.

"Kate Sheppard will now signal when it's safe to cross the road in eight intersections near Parliament," Wellington City Council said at the time.