Female form on signage a step towards inclusivity

Updated: 05 August, 2020 07:31 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

This, in a way, is symbolic of women's agency of going where they wish to, of making choices out of the home, and cements their place as an important part of society.

The female figures in signals
The female figures in signals

It is dial I for infrastructure and inclusivity, as Mumbai takes a giant leap forward for gender parity.

The cultural spine of the city, from Siddhivinayak temple to Mahim, so dubbed by the denizens because of a number of cultural landmarks now features traffic signals and signage with the female form.

Critics may argue that this is insignificant but we think as a first, this has some vision and is definitely something to be acknowledged and celebrated. In doing so, Mumbai follows a number of European cities, like those in Germany and The Netherlands, in having the female form on traffic lights. Even Melbourne in Australia has signage featuring the female silhouette.

When it started in Europe, there was plenty of Internet chatter about how traffic signals should have gender-neutral signage. Many others commented that they loved the idea. Whichever side of the divide you were on, the sheer scale of comments and avalanche of opinions and responses proved it had touched a chord among the locals.

We need to see the Mumbai initiative as one of equal rights, in the sense that it gives women more visibility. It subtly sends a message to all about women's ownership of public spaces, our roads in this instance. A number of social studies have pointed out how our public spaces are much more closed off to women, as compared to men.

This, in a way, is symbolic of women's agency of going where they wish to, of making choices out of the home, and cements their place as an important part of society.

This is inclusive infra and a reminder about what marginalised sections mean when they say they are invisible and not so equal. We would want to see more progressive infra sending subliminal messages to the citizenry, in any way. Thinkers and city visionaries, this is very well done.

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First Published: 05 August, 2020 06:58 IST

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