Resources and educational information

Contents: Policy Recommendations for Pittsburgh | "Gendering the Pandemic" | Gender Analysis | CEDAW | Educating ourselves about gender | Selected reports

Policy Recommendations for Pittsburgh

June 2020: Building an Equitable New Normal: Responding to the Crises of Racist Violence and COVID-19

The city must be bold, creative,  and committed above all to those most impacted by the dual crises of  racist violence and the pandemic. We can’t just “get back to normal,”  because that reality was harming far too many people. Our city has an  opportunity to create something new. Pittsburgh can lead the way for the nation and the world by continuing to build a city for all.

As a guide to what that should look  like, the Gender Equity Commission is pleased to present eleven policy  recommendations to Pittsburgh’s City Council and the Office of the  Mayor.

"Gendering the Pandemic"

On April 15, 2020, the GEC hosted an online Town Hall to address gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video recording of the GEC's virtual Town Hall

The event was emceed by GEC Chair Dr. Jessie Ramey and featured these local leaders discussing how gender intersects with race, LGBTQ+ needs, domestic violence, poverty, and pregnancy in these unprecedented times:

Nicole Molinaro (Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh)
Jada Shirriel (Healthy Start, Inc)
Ciora Thomas (SisTers PGH)
Tammy T. Thompson (Circles Greater Pittsburgh)

After the event, the GEC created an overview of resources for local communities.

Gender Analysis

To redress gender discrimination in Pittsburgh, the Gender Equity Commission is among global and national CEDAW municipalities utilizing the methodology of a city-wide "Gender Analysis." Conducting a Gender Analysis means examining public policies and their outcomes through a gender lens. The GEC's multiyear work on a Pittsburgh Gender Analysis reflects a proactive way to address gender-based barriers and to develop best practices for achieving gender equity. The San Francisco Department on the Status of Women describes a gender analysis as:

"a tool to understand gender gaps and create gender equitable policies and programs. By promoting general accountability built on measurable standards, this framework and gender analysis tool constitute an innovative approach to ensuring the human rights of women and girls. Gender analysis focuses on [those differences] which lead to social and economic inequality for women, and applies this understanding to public policy development, service delivery, workforce issues, and budget allocations in an effort to achieve gender parity. . .different strategies may be necessary to achieve equitable outcomes for women and men and among different groups of women."

A city-wide Gender Analysis reveals disaggregated data and impact patterns for different communities. Due to histories of inequity based on social identities such as gender, race, ability, LGBTQ+, immigration status, and others, we cannot assume that existing or proposed policies will be universally beneficial unless we intentionally analyze intersectional structures organizing our city.

A Gender Analysis is crucial because of the "gender data gap," which makes it hard to eliminate gender-based barriers because there are not clear measurements or ways to benchmark progress in gender equity.

Phase 1 (2017-2019) The GEC solicited proposals for beginning work on a city-wide Gender Analysis through the official procurement system of the City of Pittsburgh. The goal of this RFP was described as: "The Gender Analysis will look at disaggregated data to address intersectional gender discrimination, including identity, expression, sexuality, race and ethnicity, diverse abilities, education, income, and other factors. Based upon the equity disparities identified in the analysis, the GEC will work with the City to create a specific five-year action plan and ongoing plans, then monitor and guide their implementation."

The selected vendor was a research team directed by Dr. Sara Goodkind (University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work) and they used publicly available data about Pittsburgh to identify inequalities based on two of the most significant determinants of quality of life in the U.S.: gender and race. 

That research is represented in the report "Pittsburgh's Inequality Across Gender and Race," introduced at a Mayor's press conference on September 17, 2019.

Read the GEC Statement about the report and FAQs in response to community questions.

Read the response to the report by a collective of Black women and femmes in Pittsburgh (September 26, 2019)

Based on the recommendations from this first report, the GEC is designing a Workforce Equity Initiative in order to address unacceptable gaps in employment opportunity and rates of poverty impacting women in our city, most dramatically black women and their households.

Phase 2 (2020-) Based on community responses and gaps in the first report, the GEC will be initiating a second RFP, this time focusing on qualitative data and community-based participatory research. In June 2020, the GEC also released 11 policy recommendations to the Mayor's Office and City Council: Building an Equitable New Normal: Responding to the Crises of Racist Violence and COVID-19

The GEC thanks community advisors for their continued engagement with our Gender Analysis; read our email communication from June 2020.

Stay tuned for future developments! Contribute your insights and expertise to the Gender Analysis.

What is CEDAW?

Cities for CEDAW

  • Cities for CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) is a campaign to “Make the Global Local” and protect the rights of women and girls by passing legislation in cities and towns across the United States. In 2016, Pittsburgh became the 6th U.S. city to pass a local CEDAW ordinance.

Educating ourselves about gender

Gender and Sex 101: Gender Equity in the Classroom and Beyond

  • A 'gender and sex 101' resource created by Jessie Ramey, the Director of Chatham's Women's Institute and a Gender Equity Commissioner (April 2020).

Gender and Sexuality: Binary or Fluid?

While one might assume that that there are "opposite" genders or sexes, many people self-identify as trans or gender non-conforming. And TSER (Trans Student Education Resources)-- a national organization led entirely by trans youth-- points out the distinctions between gender identity, gender presentation/expression, sex, and attraction. They advocate for recognition that people might identify as, express themselves as, and be attracted to, many genders. Learn more on their website.

Selected reports

Femisphere Initiative

  • Femisphere is an initiative of the Women and Girls Foundation of Pittsburgh focused on investing in strategic initiatives to break down barriers that prevent mothers and children from being economially secure. "With Femisphere, the Women and Girls Foundation will reimagine Pittsburgh as a place that puts women at the center of economic growth and poverty reduction efforts."

Inequities Affecting Black Girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

  • The FISA Foundation commissioned this data snapshot to draw attention to gender and racial disparities faced by Black girls in the Pittsburgh region.

Gender Equity Through Human Rights: Local Efforts to Advance the Status of Women and Girls in the U.S.

  • The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute studied ways in which local governments in the U.S. incorporated human rights in their efforts to advance gender equity. This study addresses the benefits of addressing women's rights through a human rights lens. The GEC approach is inspired by such efforts.

Cities for CEDAW Campaign

  • This one-pager Includes information on the mission of Cities for CEDAW, what Cities for CEDAW looks like when implemented in local governments, and how CEDAW can advance gender equity within cities. Join the CEDAW movement in your city!

"The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap"

  • The American Association of University Women (AAUW) created a presentation comparing women's and men's median salaries. Their findings discuss causes of the gender pay gap, the gap's connection to sexual orientation and identity, and solutions to fix this difference.


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