Spanish traffic authority DGT adapts road signs according to equality criteria

by Lorraine Williamson
road signs

Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) is updating road signs. The adjustments carried out according to ‘equality criteria’. This has been stated by the Director General of Traffic, Pere Navarro.

He called it ‘logical and reasonable’ to update the current catalogue that has been in force for 20 years. ‘New needs have arisen, for example due to scooters, low-emission zones, emission restrictions. It is therefore appropriate to update the signs,’ Navarro argued in an interview on radio station Onda Cero.

Equality criteria

On introducing equality criteria, he recalled that in many road signs ‘the man appears and the woman is the one carrying the child’ and ‘since everything changes and changes very quickly, it seems a good practice (to change it)’ and to do so ‘with a bit of sensitivity and equality’.

As Navarro further pointed out, there is already an agreement with the Ministry of Transport to modify the signage.

Sexism in road signs already under discussion in 2019

The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office already indicated in its 2019 annual report that there is sexism in some road signs because they place women in ‘a situation of dependence and subordination’ compared to men. ‘Although progress has been made, there are still signs that violate the principles of equality’, something that is ‘obviously not unprecedented’, state Attorney General Dolores Delgado explained.

For example, the child danger warning sign, which is represented by a male figure leading a female figure, standing at the back, by the hand to school. The prosecution also named inequality in other signs with a man as the main character. This includes the sign warning of danger to cyclists or pedestrians, among others.

Signs related to caring for people or the domestic sphere also usually depict a woman. In short, there are still a number of signs that violate equality, the prosecutor’s office stated at the time.

Madrid has already made adjustments

Some cities, such as Madrid, have long opted to integrate traffic lights with pedestrian figures that show not only a woman and a man holding hands, but also pairs of women, men or indeterminate figures.


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