I had to laugh when I saw this sign, as it was within a day or two of Conrad leaving a comment noting that I had referred more than once to ‘calling Mick back’ and saying that he couldn’t believe that I would fit the walking stereotype of the man always walking in front, with the woman a number of yards behind.
The evidence suggests that the man in this sign was modelled on Mick.
It seems to me that, per this sign, the man must go ahead. It also seems that the man should carry the whole of the load, leaving the woman pack-free ... I’ll have to work on that one.
As it goes, Mick does almost always walk ahead of me* (albeit I’m usually only a pace or two behind), and if I should by some circumstance find myself ahead, I will stand aside and let him pass. The reason behind this is simple and unrelated to gender**: I have absolutely no ability to maintain a steady pace and my slow-slow-quick-quick-slow style drives Mick mad when he’s behind me. The solution is for Mick (Mr Steady-Pace) to go ahead and act as pacemaker.
(*There are a few exceptions, all involving descent, where I’m so much faster that Mick prefers me to go ahead rather than tripping over his heels.
** Unless my inability to maintain a steady pace is related to being female, but I don’t think so.)