In the streets of Bombay, they made a unique gesture to women, to strengthen gender equality

Bombay installed a female figure in traffic lights. It is a small but very effective signal. This step helps dispel the notion that there should be only men in public.

Bombay became the first city in India to introduce female figures at its lights. This move was very much welcomed by activists as a step towards greater inclusiveness. 

Authorities are trading green and red male figures for females at over 100 pedestrian crossings. This is taking place as part of a plan to improve pedestrian accessibility. Kiran Dighavkar of the Bombay City Council states: ‘ The label reflects the nature and character of the city … believes in gender equality and supports the empowerment of women. This is just the beginning.‘ In the campaign for equality, she said that the change may seem small, small, but in fact it is very significant. In many Indian cities, you don’t see many women on the street.

Women belong to the public

“If a generation of young girls see a woman’s figure on traffic lights, it will send them a small but clear signal that women belong to the public,” says social scientist Shilpa Phadke. 

“The presence of such symbolism in the public domain could disprove the idea that the person represented on the street is a man … in the long term it is a very important element,” says Phadke, co-author of the book ‘ Why Loiter? Women and risks on the streets of Bombay ’.

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One of the most dangerous places

The financially most important city in India already has reserved transport for women only, such as trains in peripheral districts and reserved seats on buses. It is widely regarded as one of the safest places in the country. 

Women in India have to deal with a number of security issues, such as poorly lit alleys, overcrowded public transport. However, steps have been taken in recent years to improve the accessibility of public spaces. 

According to the 2018 surveys, India was ranked as the most dangerous country in the world (Thomson Reuters Foundation). Last year, Delhi allowed free public transport for women to increase their mobility. Several Indian states give girls free bikes. They want to make sure that the lack of suitable, safe and accessible public transport does not prevent them from finishing school.

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