How Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission wants to make the city a better employer

An upcoming analysis will look at gender inequities in the city workforce — and across Pittsburgh.

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Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

Updated, Oct. 31

Where are gender inequities in Pittsburgh? How do factors like race, zip code and education play a part in those inequities? What can be done to address that?

Pittsburgh’s first-ever intersectional gender analysis, spearheaded by the city’s Gender Equity Commission, aims to answer these questions for the city workforce — and across Pittsburgh.

Using the results to “find real, tangible solutions” is one way that outgoing City Council Member Natalia Rudiak said she wants to see the #MeToo conversation continue and be taken seriously, especially by men.

“It’s going to be a multifaceted approach,” she said of the analysis.

In December, city council passed legislation introduced by Rudiak that created the commission and made Pittsburgh a city that follows the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The commission’s first executive director, anupama jain, was hired in September.

jain’s goal is to have commissioners — both from city government and the community — selected by the end of the year so the commission can start working on the analysis in 2018. Commissioners’ applications are currently being reviewed.

The first step of the analysis is to work with experts to see what data exists and where the gaps are, said jain, who is also founder of Inclusant, a diversity consulting company and an instructor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies at University of Pittsburgh. For example, she said, data from the Women and Girls Foundation’s femisphere report could be used.

People assume that data exists, but it hasn’t been collected in the same way, if it’s collected at all, jain said, adding that right now, there isn’t a lot of good data. It’s mostly anecdotal. This analysis will breakdown the experiences of trans and gender nonconforming Pittsburghers, as well as people’s experiences by race and zip code, she said.

“One of the areas that I’ve very much interested in is public safety,” Rudiak said, adding that she wants to see data about sexual violence by police zone and council district.

The analysis will also help the city identify ways it can improve as an employer, and jain said she hopes the city will then be a model for private employers.

“There are so many community partners and city leaders who are so excited about this,” she said, adding that the analysis will be a way to systematically look at things and gauge how well the city is doing. “We’ll be able to have that kind of clarity.”

Correction, Oct. 31: This article has been updated to correct the title of the commission’s gender analysis.