It is high time that snow-clearing routines became more gender equal, according to the Green Party in Stockholm, which says that "vulnerable groups" are at a disadvantage during the winter season since clearing roads from snow is prioritised over clearing cycle lanes, walking paths and public-transport areas, all of which are reportedly used by more women than men.
"Men and their car riding have always been the top priority," shadow city commissioner Daniel Helldén told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. He is also the vice chairman of Stockholm's Traffic and Waste Management Committee.
The Green Party plans to put forward a proposal this Thursday outlining how to reevaluate they way snow clearing is organised in the Swedish capital.
"We have seen that, today, snow clearing overlooks the most vulnerable groups, primarily women," said Helldén. He added: "The city should be accessible to all, which it is not right now. Today, big roads are prioritised and cycle lanes fall far behind. It is easier for cars to get by in the city than it is for people."
The Green Party said the inspiration for its new, gender-equal snow-plowing proposal came from the municipality of Karlskoga in central Sweden, which has already introduced similar measures. The municipality website states:
"Since it is harder to walk or cycle in 10 centimetres of snow than it is to drive, we plow walkways, cycle lanes and bus stops ahead of big roads. This primarily benefits women since studies show that more women than men walk, cycle and use public transport."
Helldén told Svenska Dagbladet that one benefit of this kind of measure is that it can lead to a drop in accidents. He pointed to statistics that show that three times more pedestrians than motorists get hurt in the winter traffic, which in turns leads to large socio-economic costs.
"You have to look at how a modern city functions today. There are completely different transportation patterns around. Pedestrians, cyclists and public transport-users must come first," Helldén insisted.