South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Gender equity In Pittsburgh and comparable cities

 

September 24, 2019



The Gender Equity Commission (GEC), housed in Mayor William Peduto’s Office of Equity, has released a pathbreaking white paper about gender and racial inequality in the city.

As part of a city-wide Gender Analysis, the GEC commissioned this report, which is being conducted by an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Pittsburgh. The report examines health, income, employment, and education indicators. It also introduces an innovative new tool that compares Pittsburgh to 89 other cities and determines where local interventions can be most effective.  

Major findings include serious inequality and opportunity for improvement in:  

Black women’s maternal mortality, employment, poverty, and college readiness;  

Black men’s occupational segregation, homicide rate, cancer, and cardiovascular disease; and,

Low enrollment in college admissions exams and school police referrals for all students. 

“An intersectional analysis of equity in Pittsburgh is more complicated than one examining only gender or race, but it is essential if we want to make Pittsburgh a more equitable city. Our research shows that White and Black women experience different types and degrees of discrimination and disadvantage, and that Black women in Pittsburgh face greater challenges than Black women in other cities,” University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Sara Goodkind explained.

“Our future research will continue to shed light on differential experiences in our city, extending beyond the groups included in this first report. We are pleased to have the chance to apply our research skills in conducting a rigorous, multi-part study for the city, and to partner with the Gender Equity Commission in this important work.”

“This white paper is a historic look at Pittsburgh’s inequality through both a gender and racial lens. If we are serious about making Pittsburgh livable for all of its residents, we will need to address these significant inequalities together as a community,” GEC Chair Dr. Jessie Ramey, stated.

Based on the findings in this research and two more white papers this fall, the GEC will be developing recommendations for promoting equity through city policy and legislative changes. The commission will also continue to collect input from diverse local communities and draw on the expertise of staff in city departments and authorities.  

“Historically under-represented or marginalized groups continue to face inequities throughout our country and here in Pittsburgh. Overcoming barriers to equity requires reliable and current data that is disaggregated, in order for initiatives like the GEC to develop sustainable solutions for problems facing the city as a whole,” Commission Executive Director Dr. anupama jain, said.

Created by local ordinance in late 2016, the Gender Equity Commission consists of an executive director and at least 13 commissioners who live or work in the City of Pittsburgh. They are tasked with identifying and overcoming systemic barriers to gender equity in terms of local government functions. Their approach is intersectional and recognizes that, even as gender impacts all people, it differentially impacts individuals and groups based on other identities and axes of power, including race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and other categories. 

The mission of the Gender Equity Commission is to achieve equity for women and girls in the City of Pittsburgh. Its vision is a future in which everyone in the City of Pittsburgh, regardless of gender identity or expression, is safe in all spaces, empowered to achieve their full potential, and no longer faces structural or institutional barriers to economic, social, and political equality. 

The University of Pittsburgh team includes Dr. Junia Howell, Sociology; Dr. Sara Goodkind School of Social Work; Dr. Leah A. Jacobs, School of Social Work; Dominique Branson, Linguistics; and Dr. Liz Miller, Pediatrics, Public Health, and Clinical and Translational Science.

 

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