Mumbai becomes the first Indian city to display female figures on traffic signals and pedestrian signages, to promote gender equality and women empowerment. By Tanvi Jain

In a first in the country, Mumbai has put up female pedestrian figures on traffic signals in order to promote gender equality. The image was first shared by Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, which quickly went viraland garnered thousands of likes, retweets and praises from the netizens.  

If you’ve passed by Dadar, you’d see something that will make you feel proud. @mybmcWardGN is ensuring gender equality with a simple idea — the signals now have women too!” Thackeray tweeted. 

Thanking Thackeray for accepting her idea, architect, urban planner and co-founder of The Urban Project, Vijayshree Pednekar, replied, Many thanks for accepting my ideas and suggestions to implement this in your ward @DighavkarKiran and @AUThackeray for your support, the women gender has gained some more presence and acceptance as the new normal. #theurbanproject.” 

 

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The initiative is a part of Thackeray’s pet project ‘Culture Spine’ under BMC, which involves improving and pedestrianising Caddell Road. The authorities have replaced the red and green male figures with female figures across 100 pedestrian crossings so far — the first one at Shivaji Park, Dadar; they aim at changing a total of 240 signals, and pedestrian crossing signages at 18 junctions, on SVS Road from Siddhivinayak Temple to Mahim Police Station 

 

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Mumbai, which is considered to be one of the safest cities for women in India, even runs women-only coaches in trains and provides reserved seats in buses. However, as far as the whole country is concerned, we have a long way to go to ensure each and every woman feels safe in the country.

The idea of female figures on traffic signages — either solo or alongside their male counterpart — has already been adopted by many European cities and countries such as Geneva in Switzerland, Dresden, Cologne, and Zwickau in Germany, and Amersfoort in the Netherlands – the famous ponytailed female figure called ‘Sophie’. 

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