Young sisters lobby for gender equality after seeing banned ‘Men Working’ sign in their community

‘Can girls do construction too?’

Louise Hall
Tuesday 13 April 2021 20:49
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Two young sisters in Indiana have inspired their community after lobbying for building sites in the area to stop using banned “men working” signs for construction.

Eleven-year-old Blair Babione and nine-year-old Brienne Babione wrote letters to Carmel City Council President Sue Finkam against the gendered signs this month, reports said.

"They would ask me well, ‘Why do the signs say men?’" the girls’ mother, Leslie Babione, told CNN. "Can girls do construction too?"

After spotting a “men working” sign being used and upon researching the history of the sign, the two young girls discovered that regulations per the federal highway code prohibit gender-specific signage.

The sisters decided to write a letter to Carmel City Council President Susan Finkam, which they were invited to read at a council meeting earlier this month.

"Leslie [Babione]’s work and the girls’ cute letters brought that to our attention," Ms Finkam told  Good Morning America.

Following their concerns, Ms Finkam introduced a resolution defining the use of gender-neutral construction signs, which was then unanimously passed.

"Having been alerted to gender bias in this community by the thoughtful letters of two of the city’s youngest residents, Blair Babione and Brienne Babione, the Common Council chooses to take official action to promote equality and inclusivity," the resolution reportedly reads.

"’Men Working’ or ‘Men At Work’ signage communicates the false and unacceptable message that women cannot or should not work in the construction trades or other related fields."

"It blew me away," Ms Babione told the broadcaster. "I’m very proud of them for asking questions and most proud that after asking questions they said, ‘Well, what can we do about it?’"

Ms Finkam said her main reason for introducing the resolution is to “highlight the voices of two young girls.”

She said: "I wanted to underscore the value of that and they’re one day going to inherit the leadership of this community. The earlier they can get involved, the better."

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