Look around and you’d see a bunch of things that have a gender-specific picture on them. From ‘men at work’ to the fire exit sign, all of them have a man’s doodle. We’re trying to question these norms every single day and such basic examples of everyday life make it difficult to actually practice gender neutrality or female inclusivity. However, we can’t deny that we’re making progress and a new initiative by the Mumbai government is proof of that.
The BMC or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation installed traffic lights and signboards that sport a woman symbol at Dadar district. Aditya Thackeray, the Minister for Tourism and Environment, Mumbai government took to his Twitter to announce the same. His tweet read, “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!” This makes Mumbai the first Indian city to have taken such a step.
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) August 1, 2020
Netizens, however, had a mixed response to this situation. While some believed that this was not gender-neutral, others were simply not happy and thought that there were other ‘real’ issues that need to be targetted first. One of them took to Twitter to address her problem with the sign. She said, “Gender is a social construct. Furthermore, such symbols ( attempts) are not inclusive. You leave out people who do not wish to identify with either masculinity (man) or femininity ( woman). A truly egalitarian society would hope to eradicate this social construct.”
Apart from that, another user raised an issue. His Tweet said, “I think it’s a sheer waste of time. Real empowerment comes when the law protects the dignity of women not merely putting them on traffic lights. Another pappu in making” Here are some of the Tweets.
Gender is a social construct. Furthermore, such symbols ( attempts) are not inclusive. You leave out people who do not wish to identify with either masculinity (man) or femininity ( woman). A truly egalitarian society would hope to eradicate this social construct.
— Sutanuka Roy (@Sutanuka20) August 1, 2020
I think its a sheer waste of time. Real empowerment comes when the law protects the dignity of women not merely putting them on traffic lights. Another pappu in making
— @BeingManoj (@manojsoumya) August 1, 2020
While some criticised, there were others who welcomed this change.
Well done!!! So pleased to see this
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 1, 2020
Now that is a wonderful idea.
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) August 2, 2020
Mumbai has followed the footsteps of many countries across the globe. Vienna in Austria introduced same-sex couples in their pedestrian rights while other countries like Germany has both male and female figures in their traffic lights. In 2019 beginning, Switzerland announced that they will be switching most of its pedestrian crossing figures from male to female.
What do you think about this move?
Featured Image: Twitter