Thu, Aug 02, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Seven-year-old in NZ gets sexist road signs changed


Seven-year-old Zoe Carew knew it was not right when she saw people working on power lines near the road and a warning sign that read: “LINEMEN.”

Her dad was driving Zoe and her brother to their grandparents’ place in a suburb near Wellington at the time, Zoe wrote in a June e-mail to the head of the NZ Transport Agency.

She wrote that she talked about the sign with her dad and wondered why it said “men” when women can also work on the power lines.

“I think that this sign is wrong and unfair. Do you agree?” Zoe wrote. “Can you please change the sign to say ‘LINE-WORKERS’ instead, or something else correct and fair like that.”

It turns out that agency Chief Executive Fergus Gammie did agree with Zoe’s concerns.

“I commend you for your suggestion and for taking action where you think something unfair should be fixed,” Gammie wrote back. “Well done.”

Zoe’s suggested wording would require larger signs, but “LINE CREW” would fit on signs of the same size, he said.

The change would be included in the agency’s specification approvals soon, Gammie said, adding that new signs would be phased in as old ones are retired due to wear and tear.

Zoe’s mother, Caitlin Carew, published the e-mail exchange on Twitter this week.

“So proud of my 7yo,” she wrote. “High 5s all round.”

Caitlin Carew yesterday declined further comment ahead of a planned photo shoot with Zoe Carew and Gammie when the new signs are made.

The agency also congratulated Zoe Carew on social media.

“We were happy to take Zoe’s suggestion on board, because great ideas can come from anyone, including seven-year-olds,” the agency said on Twitter. “Good on you, Zoe.”

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