Mayor Barry Announces Creation of Council on Gender Equity July 13, 2016. 

Mayor Barry announced the creation of a Council on Gender Equity today through an executive order. The Council will serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and Chief Diversity Officer, and will assess identified gender inequity issues and develop recommended solutions that would assist in ensuring that the Metropolitan Nashville Government is operating in a manner that reflects the needs of all people. Members will provide information, advice, research, program recommendation, and education, on issues of interest.

“By creating the Council on Gender Equity, we can celebrate the diversity in our community while recognizing that we have strides to make in promoting fairness in our institutions,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “Everyone deserves access to services and opportunities, regardless of gender.”

The goal of the Council on Gender Equity is to provide the Mayor with data informed recommendations and advice to address the existence of systemic differences in benefits and opportunities that might be unfairly provided to one gender but not another. The Council will recommend solutions for issues in which gender inequity appears to exist in Nashville in the specific areas of economic opportunities, family services, health and safety, and data integration.

“The Mayor’s focus on creating an equitable environment in Nashville will emphasize the wonderful diversity we have here,” said Pat SheaCEO of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. “This Council will not promote sameness throughout Nashville; rather it will ensure that each unique person has access to opportunities that celebrate their differences and allow them to acquire the services they need.”

The Council on Gender Equity will consist of a diverse group of leaders spanning public and private industries, non-profit organizations, and academia. The Council will be co-chaired by Ronald Roberts, CEO of DVL Seigenthaler, and Pat Shea.

“A society can prosper with incredible success when gender is not an issue blocking progress, and is fair to all members of that society. Government, business, and the arts can all work toward the same goal of discouraging sexism, mistreatment, and unfair wages of people based on their gender including those who do not wish to label their own personal gender or sexual preference. Damaging and uninformed stereotypes hold us back from being a truly equitable society,” said Jack White, singer, songwriter and owner of Third Man Records, who will serve as a member of the Council. “I’m very inspired to work with Mayor Barry and the Council on Gender Equity to help inspire local Nashville businesses to adopt progressive measures to ensure the fair treatment of all people in our society.”

Members of the Council include: Maura-Lee Albert, Garlinda Burton, Judge Sheila Calloway, Hal Cato, Dave Cooley, Richard Courtney, Judy Cummings, Councilmember Anthony Davis, Laura Delgado, Bonnie Dow, Corbett Doyle, Mark Emkes, Brenda Gadd, Elizabeth Gedmark, Tracey George, Joey Hatch, Kate Herman, Phyllis Hildreth, Susan Allen Huggins, Councilmember Mina Johnson, Rita Johnson-Mills, Wanda Lyle, Rita Mitchell, Mekesha Montgomery, Sara Beth Myers, Marian Ott, Rose Palermo, Shelia Peters, Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Lisa Quigley, Billye Sanders, Chris Sanders, Linda Schacht, Julie Stevens, Sherry Stewart Deutschmann, Jeff Teague, Katy Varney, Leigh Walton, Jack White, Cynthia Whitfield, and Agenia Clark.

“Gender equity is not just a women’s issue, it should be a concern for all of us,” said Roberts. “Our economy is stronger and our society is stronger when everyone is treated fairly and equitably. We must all be committed, whether it is in the public or private sector, to ensuring that women have access to the same rights and opportunities as men.”

“The Mayor’s creation of this Council, whose work is centered on issues of gender equity that affect both women and men, is a huge step in the right direction,” Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Hernandez-Lane said. “It clearly sends the message that not only is fairness and equity a major priority for this Administration, the Mayor also understands the importance of having necessary data to inform decision making.”