All posts by pgh4cedaw

Pittsburgh Gender Analysis Update

The Gender Equity Commission (GEC) of Pittsburgh, through the City, contracted with the University of Pittsburgh to conduct a city-wide intersectional gender study. This Gender Analysis provided data on the status of women and girls in Pittsburgh for the City to use as a base for setting priorities. It also gave a clearer picture of how Pittsburgh compares to other similar cities when it comes to gender equity. 

The Gender Analysis has been divided into four phases.

  1. The first part, completed by the University of Pittsburgh, used administrative data such as census data to compare Pittsburgh to 89 other US cities with similar demographics. The disparities were so striking that it was clear that significantly more community input was required beyond the focus groups originally planned and a new Request for Proposal will be issued in 2020.
  2. Part two of the study will focus on Pittsburgh city government employment data. 
  3. Part three, the researchers will talk with Pittsburgher’s and collect their stories and experiences through a series of community meetings. The meetings will take place in various neighborhoods around the City.
  4. Part four will serve as a summary of the analysis. Using input, and recommendations from the communities, and best practices from other cities, a set of policy recommendations will be developed.

To read the report in its entirety go here.

You can attend a GEC meeting for an update.

Unchained: Ending Child Marriages in PA

From Unchained at Last: On June 5, 2019 The Pennsylvania house of representatives voted unanimously today in favor of HB360, the bill we’re promoting to end child marriage. The bill heads to the senate next – and you can help make sure it passes there too. Email PA senators now to urge them to pass the Senate version, SB81. To learn more about “Unchained At Last” check out their website Unchained at Last and these TEDX videos

There is an upcoming event in Harrisburg, June 26, 2019

The Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition Supports the PA Family Care Act

The PA Family Care Act recognizes the need for employees to take time to care for their families at critical times. There is bipartisan support for the Paid Family Care and Medical Leave Insurance in both the PA House and Senate. You can show your support by writing or calling your state representatives and request that they co-sponsor this life-changing legislation.

  • “The Family Care Act” is a simple, well-tested mechanism. Similar state insurance funds are already in place in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Washington, and Washington D.C.
  • These funds help ensure small businesses can compete with large companies to recruit and retain top-tier talent.
  • State taxpayers will also benefit long term from this program. Data shows that individuals who take paid leave are 39% less likely to report using public assistance in the year following a child’s birth.
  • Just 6% of the lowest wage earners receive paid family leave compared to 22% of those in the top sector.
  • While the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees unpaid time off to care for a ill family member or new child, most Americans cannot sustain their families for more than two weeks without a paycheck.

Learn more here!  Click on links to read the PA House and Senate memorandum. Join us in telling our legislators to pass the Family Care Act!

Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit January 2019

The Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition participated in a Racial Justice Housing Workshop. We spoke on how women are often hardest hit by a shortage of affordable housing and gentrification.

Building an Intersectional Movement for Housing Justice in our Region

This panel aims to help residents unite around a shared demand for a city that reflects and prioritizes the human right to housing and that activates our collective energies to advance remedies for racial inequities and harms caused by long-term discrimination in housing policies and by market-oriented economic development. It features leaders from diverse struggles for justice working to shift debates from markets to human needs and to build broad alliances that build collective power for transformative change. Each speaker will address particular strategies that can help us build and strengthen our local movement for housing justice. What opportunities and resources are available for advancing our work for human rights and the right to have a safe and secure dwelling in our community? How can different sectors of social justice work come together in ways that reinforce an overall vision of a human rights city? How can all residents join in this effort to make our neighborhoods and our region a place of dignity and justice for everyone?

Carl Redwood, Hill District Consensus Group

Marcia Bandes, Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition

Randall Taylor, Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition

Joshua Malloy, Pittsburghers for Public Transit

Co-facilitators: Michelle King, Teacher-Powered Pittsburgh & Jackie Smith, Human Rights City Alliance, Professor, Dept of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York is proud to announce Mayor William Peduto 2019 Recipient Cities for CEDAW Global Leadership Award

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York is proud to announce Mayor William Peduto as 2019 Recipient Cities for CEDAW Global Leadership Award. The award will be given at NGO CSW63 Forum Consultation Day on Sunday, March 10th from 9AM to 3:30PM at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (Borough of Manhattan Community College).

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly and ratified by 189 countries. The United States is one of five countries which failed to ratify the treaty. In 2015, the NGO CSW/NY launched the Cities for CEDAW campaign with San Francisco as the peer leader for the US. This campaign has grown to include more than 50 US cities working to implement CEDAW policies and programs at the local level making it illegal to discriminate against women. It assures girls and women of all ages– in all their diversity–the rights to decent housing, employment, public safety and access to social services and resources.
Mayor William Peduto was chosen for this award due to his work to implement sustaining policies which eliminate all forms of discrimination against women at the local level.  Serving on the Pittsburgh City Council for twelve years, he was responsible for the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history. Now in his second term as Mayor, Pittsburgh is a leading 21st Century city.  Mayor Peduto is actively engaged with the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Pennsylvania Municipal League initiatives.
To make the global local in Pittsburgh, NGOs: WILPF/Pittsburgh and the Zonta Club of Pittsburgh, along with women advocate groups New Voices Pittsburgh and the Women’s Law Project, formed the Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition. They worked closely with their sponsor, Councilperson Natalia Rudiak, and with the full support of Mayor Peduto, the City Council passed unanimously the CEDAW ordinance in 2016. The Ordinance seeks to improve the lives of all women and girls in Pittsburgh by, for example, reducing and eliminating violence against women and girls, promoting more equitable economic development, increasing quality education opportunities and the delivery of all City services. It recognizes discrimination in these areas also affects the health and well-being of women and girls and seeks ways to improve or complement the work that is already being done by groups such as the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department. The Gender Equity Commission began meeting in 2018 and currently has 14 volunteers who are local feminist leaders. Executive Director anupama jain describes their goals of “dismantling gender inequalities in our city” and reiterates the CEDAW motto that, “when women succeed, our communities thrive.”

On Consultation Day join us in honoring and thanking Mayor Peduto. Under his leadership girls and women are succeeding and “If it’s not for all, it’s not for us.”

Pittsburgh Women’s March 1/19/2019

To see so many young women at the Pittsburgh Women’s March again this year was energizing! This administration has woken a sleeping giant. Young women across the nation recognize that their basic rights are threatened. With the results of recent elections and continued engagement our multi-generational fight is stronger than ever!

Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education

May 21, 2018

The Pittsburgh for CEDAW Coalition co-signed a letter to the Pittsburgh Board of Education highlighting the issue of sexual harassment in school with the following asks:

We invite the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education to collaborate with us to eradicate sexual and other forms of harassment within schools that impacts all students, regardless of gender identity.

In particular, we ask that the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education:

  1. Include language within the Strategic Plan: Expect Great Things describing a commitment to effectively prevent and respond to sexual and other forms of harassment.
  2. Establish a full-time Title IX Coordinator for the district.
  3. Collaborate with the Black Girls Equity Alliance and other external experts.
  4. Establish a task force focused on eradicating sexual harassment to address:
  5. Measures of students’ experiences of sexual and other forms of harassment
  6. Assessment of policies and procedures related to sexual harassment
  7. District-wide training for all staff members to ensure understanding of policies and best practices for addressing sexual and other forms of harassment

To read the letter in its entirety:  An Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education_May 21 2018

Press Conference Announcing Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission

March 1, 2018

More than a year after former Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak helped usher anti-gender discrimination legislation through council, the city on Thursday introduced the members who will serve on its first-ever Gender Equity Commission.The group’s main charge is to “dismantle gender inequalities in our city,” executive director anupama jain, who doesn’t capitalize her name, said at Thursday’s launch event. She acknowledged the commission has its work cut out for it.“It’s not change that will happen tomorrow,” said jain, who is paid as a part-time employee of the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment to lead the commission.Among city employees, gender disparities are glaring. PublicSource reported last year that a pay gap between men and women, and between white people and people of color, exists in part because the city’s workers are overwhelmingly white and male.

“When you have generations and centuries of gender inequality, which is the reality…we’ve got decades to go until, as a country, we actually have gender parity,” jain said.

The commission has big goals.

“We want to be a thought leader and a model for public and private organizations,” jain said. “This work can be done, it needs to be done intentionally and it needs to be done with emerging tools.”

Mayor Bill Peduto and jain assembled what jain calls a “power house” commission of local academics, entrepreneurs, experts and city officials including:

Megan Block, a civil rights attorney focused on unions and employment; Kelauni Cook, founder and CEO of Black Tech Nation and co-director of Beta Builders Coding Boot Camp Community; Kathi Elliott, executive director of Gwen’s Girls; Lee Fogarty, leader of Cities for CEDAW Pittsburgh; Councilwoman Deb Gross; Sarah Hansen, senior director of operations for Pennsylvania Women Work; Magdeline Jensen, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA; Sabrina Korbel, an attorney with the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh; Janet Manuel, acting director of the city’s Department of Human Resources; Amanda Neatrour, manager of the Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University; Chelsea Pallatino, a postdoctoral associate at Magee Women’s Research Institute; Jessie Ramey, director of the Women’s Institute at Chatham University; Sarah Schulz, assistant professor of psychology at Point Park University; Mike Strelic, senior budget analyst in the City Council Budget Office; and Ricardo Williams, manager of equity and inclusion in the city’s Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment and administrator of the city’s Equal Opportunities Review Commission.

As executive director of the commission, jain is uniquely qualified. She is an instructor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at the University of Pittsburgh and has served as the equity and inclusion consultant for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

The commission, born out of Rudiak’s legislation and launched on the first day of Women’s History Month, is part of Pittsburgh’s answer to a charge the United Nations made nearly four decades ago when it ratified the treaty known as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The CEDAW treaty, which acts as a bill of women’s rights, charges countries to pass laws and take other steps to ensure that men and women are equal in every way, including mandates that governments create laws and policies to end discrimination against women and take action so women are equally represented. So far, 189 countries worldwide have signed and ratified that treaty, though the United States has merely signed it. In 2016, Pittsburgh was the sixth city in the U.S. to adopt CEDAW legislation in lieu of a national effort.

In fall 2016, Rudiak introduced legislation for the city to adopt CEDAW’s principles and Peduto signed that legislation into law by December of that year. jain was hired in September 2017 and began assembling the commissioners.

The commission will use data to assess how the city can change policies for its workforce of nearly 3,500 full time employees as well as help shape city-wide policies in virtually every area.

Councilwoman Deb Gross, who chairs council’s Committee on Land Use and Economic Development, wondered how the commission might change the city’s conversation about affordable housing and budgeting for other such equity-building programs.

“Who are we investing in and who are we not investing in? This commission is our opportunity to both ask that question and get that answer,” she said.

For his part, Peduto said he hopes the commission serves as a model for other cities. He said he is willing to make changes to the city’s workforce. The city can’t force any business or group to adopt the commission’s recommendations, he said, but it can serve as role model.

“I’m not trying to force anybody, I just want to be able to show a best practice model that will work on the scale of a 3,500 employee organization and explain to companies throughout the city that have hundreds of employees or 50,000 employees that there is a model you can follow and that it works,” he said. “Hopefully this will just be the beginning for the city of the Pittsburgh.”

When it comes to doing that work of getting companies in Pittsburgh to adopt policies to be more equitable, Cook, the Black Tech Nation CEO, has been there. In her role, she said, she’s met with executives at Google, Uber and other local heavyweights. Right now, she said, “everyone is receptive to hearing people out.” But whether that means making change? She laughed.

No one will want to resign or fire employees to make room for more women or people of color, she said.

“What is it gonna take for a manager to make [change] a top priority just as much as making sure payroll is in on time?” she asked. “When does that importance come in?”

Dale Shoemaker is PublicSource’s government and data reporter. He can be reached at 412-515-0069 or by email at You can follow him on Twitter at @JDale_Shoemaker.