Do you, like me, live in a city where girls softball teams have names like “The Dolls” and very few women make it into elected office? Then you might want to join this call being held by It’s Time Network next Tuesday, May 2nd at 3 PM EST. This will be an opportunity to learn about how to take action in your local community to protect and advance women’s rights.
It’s Time Network brought together a number of important organizations to formulate their Mayors Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality including the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Center for American Women in Politics, Jobs with Justice, Forward Together, Equal Rights Advocates, Global Fund for Women, Women Donors Network, Girls Inc., MomsRising, The Grove Foundation, St. Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco, Astrea Foundation and Women’s Earth Alliance.
The Mayors Guide is the first ever “how to” manual for mayors who want to focus on improving the status of women and girls. It spans 11 issue areas and provides general recommendations, as well as specific recommendations for each of the 11 issue areas.
One of the first steps that the Guide recommends is going to the U.S. Factfinder site of the Census Bureau and learning about your home city, so you can correctly identify the gender equality issues in your locality.
Number two on the list is to ask your city to establish a permanent commission on the status of women. Friends with legislative experience in Cranston, has this ever been done? If not, we will need to look into it.
So that’s why I’m planning to dial into the call on Tuesday. The call will also help participants to connect with people in their local area and develop networks of support to carry forward this agenda.
For some more recommendations to chew on as you consider calling in, here are the rest of the general recommendations from the Guide:
- Adopt a city ordinance on The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
- Establish a permanent Commission (or Department) on the Status of Women in your city.
- Fully fund that Commission.
- Commission a Status of Women and Girls report for your city to establish a baseline from which to set measurable goals and specific actions.
- Create a city task force for women, composed of private sector, nonprofit and government members to support the Commission and/or to stand in its place until one is developed.
- Strengthen relationships between nonprofit organizations and government agencies and provide more opportunities to partner.
- Analyze, identify and change existing policies that discriminate against women and girls.
- Ensure gender equality is embedded in the culture and goals of your administration and is reflected in your messaging.
- Report on gender and racial diversity for city hires to ensure gender equality at every level of staffing, including top positions.
- Look at tax benefits and incentives to support and encourage the private sector.
- Use traditional women’s venues (i.e. women’s colleges, community centers, etc.) for conducting outreach, advocacy and convenings.
- Utilize multiple sources of funding for women’s programs and initiatives, including private funding, foundations, municipal bonds, federal tax credits, federal grants, state grants, general-purpose city funds, etc.
- Engage people across political lines to build a collaborative and inclusive approach.
- Engage leaders at the grassroots level to ensure broad representation and perspectives.
- Create annual awards and establish annual improvement levels for those who accelerate gender equality.
- Ensure women and girls have equal access to quality, affordable education.
- Encourage STEM education for girls, women and mid-career women.
Betsey McKinney and the It’s Time Network are doing groundbreaking work with researching and creating this structure for bringing gender equality to cities across America. It would be amazing for our city to make these recommendations a reality.