Gender Gap Is Closing – For Now – On Streets Of Dortmund, Germany


DPA Ampelfrauen Germany Dortmund


If you’ve ever been to Berlin’s Ampelmann Shop, then you’ve already met this guy. He’s the one who telling you when to cross the street of Germany. Now the city of Dormund will be introducing his female version: Ampelfrauen.

Shown as the stop light signal to “keep walking”, Ampelmännchen has been the beloved symbol in Eastern Germany. As one of the few features of communist East Germany to have survived the end of the Iron Curtain, Ampelmännchen has maintained its celebrity status among travelers especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Prior to 1990 – German reunification – the two German states had different Ampelmännchens. West Germany displayed a generic human figure while East Germany always showed Ampelmännchen. Politicians in Dortmund, however, are implementing the female Ampelfrauen to support gender equality.

As reported by The Guardian:

The use of Ampelfrauen is already widespread on the streets of Bremen, Cologne, Dresden, Kassel, Magdeburg and Zwickau. The most common pedestrian icon is a modification of the East German Ampelmännchen, which was designed by East German traffic psychologist Karl Peglau in 1961 and has since attained cult status across the country.

Dortmund will be the first city to introduce a 50/50 quote on the streets of Germany, and the process of implementation will not be immediate. Each time a broken light is re-installed, it will be replaced with a Ampelfrauen until both genders are at equal numbers.

Flickr Wilhelm Rosenkranz Ampelmännchen Germany

Photo: Flickr/Wilhelm Rosenkranz

The first idea of Ampelfrauen was presented all the way back in 2004, highlighting the fact that they would be safer for pedestrians because skirts would mean greater areas would light up than the pants which Ampelmännchens wear.

Gender equality remains as an issue in Germany, according to Washington Post:

Germans have debated gender equality for years, because women are still less represented in many sectors and generally earn less. A recently announced national rule is supposed to require certain companies to employ a minimum proportion of women on their supervisory boards as well as their boards of directors.

Critics are hailing the design of Ampelfrauen as fussy or frumpy. And some urge for traffic light couples to promote gender equality instead. Berlin has yet to execute, stating the design of Ampelfrauen as “cliché.”

What do you think of the implementation of Ampelfrauen? Let us know in the comments below.



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Categories: Travelers

Author:Jetset Times

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