New Delhi, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- In more than 100 traffic signals and signboards of Mumbai, the financial capital of India, the traditional male stick figures have been replaced with female ones in a one-of-a kind and symbolic gesture towards gender equality in public spaces.
The symbols have been changed in 240 signals on 120 posts situated in 12 different road crossings near Mumbai’s Dadar area, Kiran Dighavkar – the assistant commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai – told EFE.
The change in the gender of the silhouettes used in traffic lights and signs – carried out through the figure being displayed in a triangular frock – makes the western port city the first municipality in the country to adopt feminine figures in traffic signs.
“This was done as a gesture of tribute to the city’s dynamic and versatile character,” Dighavkar said.
The project, which went viral on social networks and was covered by local media outlets earlier this week, was launched by the municipal corporation around a month ago and completed last week.
The corporation hailed the initiative as a “small step” towards gender equality, that the city was the first to carry out.
Indian society remains deeply patriarchal and women of the country are often discriminated throughout their life and even before their birth, with the practice of female foeticide affecting the sex ratio of the population .
Although this was a “pilot project,” and the municipality is not planning to extend it to the rest of the city in the short term, the assistant commissioner said that it had received a “good response from all quarters,” and traffic norms had not posed any obstacles in its implementation.
The section of the road where the project has been installed has been termed the “Cultural Spine of Mumbai” and passes by sacred places of different religions including a famous Hindu temple, a church and the mausoleum of a Muslim saint, symbolizing India’s cultural diversity.
The modification of traffic signage forms part of a wider urban initiative which has earlier carried out projects such as the installation of tactile pavement for the blind and a vertical garden. EFE-EPA