The city of Geneva is putting women on its pedestrian crossing road signs in a move to boost women’s presence in public spaces.
The silhouette of a man has been replaced with that of a woman on half the city’s 500 signs warning of an upcoming pedestrian crossing. In a move for diversity as well as gender equality, the female silhouette comes in six different versions, including a pregnant woman, an older woman, a woman with afro hair and two women holding hands.
Presenting the new signs on Thursday, Geneva mayor Sandrine Salerno said it was part of the city’s strategy to promote gender equality and combat stereotypes. Public spaces have traditionally been designed by men and this was a way to “give us women a bit of the public space” as well as to “liven up” the public spaces, she told Swiss public television, RTS.
The operation has cost CHF56,000 ($58,000) and was funded entirely by the city of Geneva. Salerno said the 250 signs that were being withdrawn would be kept in stock as possible replacements.
Geneva is the first city in Switzerland to make such a move, although Zurich took a similar initiative on a temporary basis during Gay Pride last year. Trade union activists in Zurich also changed "male" street names temporarily to "female" ones on International Women's Day.