Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission Announced

(Photo Caption: The Gender Equity Commissioners (Photo:

By Marcia Bandes

I am proud and delighted to share with you the latest milestone in the execution of Pittsburgh’s CEDAW (UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Gender Equity Ordinance.

On March 1, 2018, the first day of Women’s History Month, anupama jain, Pittsburgh’s first Executive Director of Gender Equity, held a press conference to introduce the newly formed Gender Equity Commission. Speakers included anupama jain, Councilwoman Debra Gross, Janet Manuel, Deputy Director, Personnel, and Civil Services Commissioner, Mayor Bill Peduto and Marcia Bandes, Chair, Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition.

The Commission meetings are open to the public and take place 2:30–4:30 PM on the third Tuesday of each month in Room 902 of the City-County Building (414 Grant St. Pittsburgh, PA 15219), unless noted otherwise.

Next Milestone

The Commission’s next major effort is to issue a Request for Information (RFI) for a city-wide gender analysis, followed by a Request for Proposal (RFP) to execute the gender analysis.

To learn more about the commissioners or to follow the activities of the Gender Equity Commission, go to the Gender Equity Commission website and select Commissioners or select Contact Us and select Launch Interest Form.

For History Buffs

The goal of this UN Convention, passed in 1979, is to establish gender equity around the world.  The United States, unfortunately, is not one of the 189 countries that have ratified it.

Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition was launched to participate in the Cities for CEDAW Campaign spreading across the United States. We are the 6th, but not the last, city to pass an ordinance–a law that commits the City of Pittsburgh to strive for a more just and equitable city for all of its women and girls, including our lesbian, trans and queer sisters. This commitment includes all colors, religions, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and abilities.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, hearing about the Cities for CEDAW campaign, reached out to New Voices Pittsburgh and the Women and Girls Foundation for help getting started. Those organizations jumped in and helped us build the infrastructure we needed and spread the word. Soon we had individuals representing the Zonta Club, Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, University of Pitt School of Social Work, Women’s Law Project, League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, college students and individuals committing themselves to laying the groundwork for gender equity in Pittsburgh.

We were endorsed by nearly 30 organizations and 200 individuals. Many of you didn’t just sign a letter of support, you called your council members, wrote letters, and spoke at our Post Agenda and Public Hearing. And, with strong support from our sponsor, City Council member Natalia Rudiak, City Council passed our Gender Equity Ordinance unanimously! Thank you all for believing! You made this happen.

The Gender Equity Commission includes amazing, diverse and experienced women and men. If you know, or chance to meet any of them, please thank them for volunteering!

The Gender Equity Commissioners are:

Megan Block: Attorney, Civil Rights, Union and Employment

Kelauni Cook: Founder and CEO, Black Tech Nation; Co-Director, Beta Builders Coding Boot Camp Community

Kathi Elliott: Executive Director, Gwen’s Girls

Lee Fogarty: Leader, Cities for CEDAW Pittsburgh

Deb Gross: Councilperson, City Council, District 7, City of Pittsburgh

Sarah Hansen: Senior Director of Operations, Pennsylvania Women Work

Magdeline Jensen: CEO, Greater Pittsburgh YWCA

Sabrina Korbel: Attorney, Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

Janet Manuel: Acting Director, Department of Human Resources, City of Pittsburgh

Amanda Neatrour: Mgr, Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program, Robert Morris University

Chelsea Pallatino: Postdoctoral Associate, Magee Women’s Research Institute

Jessie Ramey: Director, Women’s Institute, Chatham University

Sarah Schulz: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Point Park University

Mike Strelic: Senior Budget Analyst, City Council Budget Office, City of Pittsburgh

Ricardo Williams: Mgr of Equity & Inclusion, Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment; Administrator, Equal Opportunities Review Commission (EORC), City of Pittsburgh

When women succeed, communities thrive!

Marcia Bandes

Chair, Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition (Project of the Thomas Merton Center)

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