Philadelphia’s new Women’s Commission to address gender issues

    Jovida Hill is the executive director of the Mayor's Commission for Women. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

    Jovida Hill is the executive director of the Mayor's Commission for Women. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

    One year after Philadelphia voters approved creating a permanent city Commission on Women, the 27-member commission is taking a head-on approach to the issues that are central to women as well as promote equality.

    “We intend to engage with the community on issues that effect women,” Jovida Hill, the executive director of the commission, said. “Sexual violence against women is something that we are very concerned about.

    “We’re concerned about pay equity issues in this day and age,” she added. “A woman makes 77 cents to every dollar a man makes and only 11 percent of women serve on corporate boards — it’s even worse for that for women of color. We have a lot of woerk to do in terms of advocacy.”

    Fomer Mayor Bill Green first created the commission via an executive order. The ballot initiative added the commission to Philadelphia’s City Charter. Of the commission’s 27 members, 10 were appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney and the other 17 were selected by members of the city council. The group will meet six times per year and are all volunteers. 

    “Our mission is to simply enhance the lives of women at all stages of their lives,” Hill said. “We’ve got 27 women and we’re setting up the committee structures now.”

    Hill originally joined the Kenney administration in February as apart the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Women’s Commission is a part of that office.

    “We need this commission always,” she said. “The lives of women are still marginalized, especially poor women and women of color.

    “We do need to be socially, politically, and economically engaged in how we can improve the lives of women,” she added, “at every age and every stage of their lives.”

    To hear more of Jennifer Lynn’s interview with Jovida Hill, press play at the top of the page.

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