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Mayor de Blasio Establishes Commission on Gender Equity

June 24, 2015

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity, established through Executive Order Number 10, to achieve economic mobility and social inclusion of all New Yorkers, particularly women and girls, and ensure their public safety. This Commission, which is still in formation, effectively replaces the City’s previous Commission on Women’s Issues, established in 2002. First Lady Chirlane McCray will serve as the honorary Chair of the Commission, which is comprised of a diverse group of leaders spanning public and private industries, non-profit organizations, and academia.

The Mayor is committed to leveraging every power of city government to expand and increase opportunity for all New Yorkers – regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation – and build a city that is safe and free of discrimination. The Commission on Gender Equity will be integral in achieving these goals, supporting City agency initiatives and working to use a gender lens which will include women, transgender and intersex individuals, and men to achieve greater gender fairness in this city. Over the past year, New York City has made huge strides towards gender parity, including establishing a historic partnership with UN Women and becoming the first American city to join the United Nation’s Safe Cities Initiative, expanding paid sick leave to many of the lowest paid industries that employ disproportionate amounts of women, making unprecedented investments in domestic violence response and education through the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and appointing and promoting an unprecedented number of women to leadership positions in agencies and City Hall – with women serving in fifty percent of the administration’s senior leadership positions.

The Commission on Gender Equity will:

  • Serve as an advisory group to the Mayor on initiatives and methods to achieve the goals of the Mayor’s platform to reduce inequality, with a focus on gender-based inequality
  • Advocate for women, girls, transgender and intersex residents and support programs that have been created to remove barriers to full participation in all areas of women’s personal and work lives
  • Study the nature and extent of both the intentional and unintentional discrimination that women face in the City of New York, and their impacts on the economic, civic and social well-being of women
  • Make recommendations to the Mayor regarding legislative or executive action to improve the lives of women
  • Educate the public about women’s issues
  • Support and work collaboratively with the network of organizations in the public and private sectors working to expand opportunities for women
  • Work with the Mayor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, and advocacy and community organizations to identify and hire an Executive Director of the Commission, and additional members of the Commission.

Read the full executive order here.

Check out First Lady Chirlane McCray’s post on here.

“New York is a city spiritually defined by inclusion and diversity, and it’s imperative that all New Yorkers, regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation, are treated equally,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This historic new commission will help us use every tool we have to create a truly equal city for all New Yorkers.”

“We want city government to view the world through a wider lens, one that lets in a panorama of experience that encompasses all New Yorkers, regardless of gender identity,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “We want them to feel like city government understands where they are coming from and where they are going, no matter how they identify or who they love.”

“This City is fifty-two percent female, and we only rise together if women and girls do too –  no matter their race, income, sexual orientation or identity,” said Counsel to Mayor and M/WBE Director Maya Wiley. “Far too many women are in low paid jobs, especially women of color. Far too many trans women are unsafe on public streets. And we need to shift the limited way we see men’s roles. The Commission will help the City develop strategies to do that.”

“Gender equity is at the core of the current efforts I’m leading at the Commission on Human Rights to retool education and enforcement strategies in order to make them more effective in combatting prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and harassment and in bringing justice to New Yorkers regardless of their income, and especially to those who can’t afford private legal representation,” said Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis. “I’m very honored to be an ex-officio member of Mayor de Blasio’s new Commission on Gender Equity and I look forward to working with the other members so we can take concrete measures to address the needs of our women and girls as we build a safer and more equal City for all.”

“Far too many New Yorkers are denied access, opportunity, and equality on the basis of gender, and we will no longer accept this disparity as the status quo,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Efforts such as the Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity and the New York City Council’s Young Women's Initiative will begin to tackle and dismantle this entrenched gender inequality head on and break down barriers in education, healthcare, the workplace and civic life. New Yorkers believe in an empowered, inclusive City and that is what we are fighting for.”

Honorary Commissioners

  • Gloria Steinem, Writer, Lecturer, Political Activist, Feminist Organizer
  • Robin Morgan, Feminist, Activist, Writer, Lecturer
  • Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, City Council


  • Silda Palerm, Chair, Violence Intervention Program, Inc.


  • Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn, President, S. Ahmad-Llewellyn Family Foundation
  • Radhika Balakrishnan, Faculty Director, Rutgers University
  • Taina Bien-Aime, Executive Director, Coalition Against Women in Trafficking
  • Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Executive Vice President for Multicultural Markets & Engagement, AARP
  • Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, Senior Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Thompson Reuters
  • Abigail Disney, CEO, Daphne Foundation
  • Mallika Dutt, President and CEO, Breakthrough
  • Cecilia Gaston, Executive Director, Violence Intervention Program
  • Anne Hess, Chair, Madre, Inc.
  • Tiloma Jayasinghe, Executive Director, Sakhi
  • Katherine S. Kahan, women and children’s rights activist
  • Nancy Kolben, Executive Director, Center for Children’s Initiatives
  • Celeste Smith, Vice President, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

“New York City has always been a magnet for dreams of freedom – including for women from around this country and the world. Nothing could be a bigger opportunity than to serve this Commission that can help us become safer, more equal and freer than ever before. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Chirlane McCray for opening a door to the future,” said Honorary Commissioner Gloria Steinem.

“After 15 years working in the nonprofit sector to advance the cause of women in New York City, I am excited and grateful to be given the opportunity to be part of city government and contribute to this administration’s efforts to promote equality,” said Chair Silda Palerm.

“New York City has always been a vanguard in the fight to end violence and discrimination against women and girls, from the most disenfranchised communities to halls of power. It is an honor to continue this tradition through the Commission, which strengthens the City’s resolve to achieve equality for all,” said Taina Bien-Aime.

“Gender equality and equity have been the focus of my academic and activist life for over thirty years. I am honored to serve on a commission that will champion gender equity in public policy in the city that I love and call my home,” said Radhika Balakrishnan.

“I am pleased to support Mayor de Blasio in advancing his equity agenda as a member of the newly constituted Commission on Gender Equity. One hundred and thirty years ago, one week ago today, New York received the Statue of Liberty as a gift from France.  The Statue of Liberty is the world's symbol for equality and inclusion. The Mayor's goal is to insure that all New Yorkers have the same opportunities that this great City has to offer.  We will create the tale of ‘One City for All’,” said Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez.

“Gender equity has emerged as the leading factor in economic growth for any society. As a woman, a Latina, a mother and a professional in the field of diversity and inclusion I believe that there is no more single, universal and impactful issue than advancing the cause of women. It will no doubt be vital, indeed essential to shaping a more inclusive and participatory democracy. I am proud to be part of this important commission and to the progressive change in which we will engage on behalf of all women,” said Yrthya Dinzey-Flores.

“I'm delighted to join the NYC Commission on Gender Equity. Twenty years ago, when I started my work to advance women's issues and gender equity, both locally here in the city as well as nationally and internationally, I could not have imagined that such a committee might ever exist, much less be in my own future! I am so proud of this administration for making this work a priority and so anxious to get to work--we have much to do still to ensure equity for all New Yorkers,” said Abigail Disney.

“I am honored and humbled to join this historic group of esteemed leaders who can help New York City become a place where all people enjoy their human rights and live with equality, dignity and justice. Locally and globally, we stand at a tipping point where deep culture change is within our grasp, and I believe that New York can lead the way. Together, we can build a city—and a world—where homes and streets are safe, relationships are healthy, and opportunity is equal for all,” said Mallika Dutt.

“As a native New Yorker, I have always known that the City’s diversity has been an important ingredient that helps create the unique vibrancy, energy level and rhythm that everyone loves about New York! I am honored to be part of this commission that will continue to guarantee equal opportunity, economic and social wellbeing to everyone who calls New York home,” said Anne Hess.

“It is an honor to have been invited to join the New York City Commission on Gender Equity and to have this opportunity to support the commitment to fairness and justice of the Mayor and First Lady of the City of New York. I feel privileged to be included in such a distinguished group of accomplished, passionate and dedicated women. I look forward to doing my best to contribute to this historic effort,” said Katherine Kahan.

“Mayor de Blasio’s newly established Commission on Gender Equity represents a very important opportunity to address a broad range of gender equity issues.  I am honored to be able to support that work and to bring particular attention to how this builds on the Mayor's unprecedented leadership in expanding Pre-K education and early learning services for young children while also strengthening employment opportunities for women,” said Nancy Kolben.

“I am honored to serve as a member of the Commission on Gender Equity and I am passionate about supporting the success of women and minority business owners because I believe it is key to sustaining economic growth,” said Celeste Smith.

“The feminization of poverty is real, and we must take more proactive steps to empower women – both socially and economically. This commission will help ensure New York City remains a global leader in women’s rights by guiding policy and providing supportive resources. I commend Mayor de Blasio and look forward to working with the commission to help uplift our next generation of women leaders and build a stronger New York City for all,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“Today Mayor de Blasio is taking a big step forward in tackling the gender wage gap, which remains a sad fact of life for too many working families in our city, and I am grateful for his focus on this issue. Last year, my gender wage gap report found that women in New York City earn 82 cents on the dollar to men, while women continue to represent less than 5 percent of CEO’s in the S&P 500. The Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity will help to crack these glass ceilings and I look forward to collaborating on strategies that promote fairness and equity for all genders,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

“Women’s median earnings in New York State are just 86 percent of men’s, according to the American Association of University Women. Even on something relatively obvious and uncontroversial like closing the gender-based pay gap, we have a long way to go,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I applaud the formation of this commission, and I hope that through it we will find new ways to further the cause of equality within our five boroughs, while lighting a path that the rest of the nation and the world can follow.”

“Our City as a whole must be much more aggressive in addressing gender inequality and women’s issues.  It is my hope that this commission will draw badly needed attention to the many social, economic and public safety challenges facing women and girls, leading to concrete steps that make our City more inclusive for all,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

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