North Central News

Commission focuses on gender-related issues

By Karina Romero
The Phoenix Women’s Commission is a diverse group that offers leadership opportunities and support to enhance the quality of life for female residents.

This group of 16 strong women advocates for gender-related topics including launching a community survey to gather input on trending topics, issues and themes for the commission’s next forum in May. As of press time the exact date and location had not yet been set but it will be open to all women around the Valley.

The commission helps women participate in civic and public affairs and advises Mayor Kate Gallego and the City Council on women’s issues. Women volunteer if they are interested in joining the commission, then Gallego and the City Council appoint the members to the group for three-year terms.

The commission meets the second Monday of every month from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the city’s Fire Administration Building at 150 S. 12th St. Meetings are open to the public.

Heather Ross, a North Central resident, is a member of the commission and a clinical assistant professor at Arizona State University, as well as a Policy Fellow for the office of Mayor Gallego. All the women on the committee represent their respective careers and influence and it is unusual for them to disagree, Ross said. She added rather than disagree, commission members might answer a comment with “Yes…but” and add a missing factor to the concept.

Ross has worked closely with Gallego to make Phoenix the largest dementia-capable city in the country, which was one of Ross’ career goals. Cities around the United States are joining the Dementia Friendly America movement to try to ensure that communities are equipped to support those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Ross worked with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to create a program for people with dementia. The city implemented its Compassion Cacti Lanyard Program, where those with dementia and their loved ones receive green lanyards that allow employees to know they need special assistance. All Sky Harbor employees received dementia-capable training.

Allison Otu, chairwoman of the Phoenix Women’s Commission, is searching for a home in North Central. With a passion for social change, Otu said every voice is valued and every situation leads to an end goal. She works as the University of Arizona Health Sciences executive director for Corporate and Community Relations and also serves on the Downtown Phoenix Partnership’s Board of Directors.

A pay equity subcommittee is working with the Phoenix Women’s Commission and is planning how to reach out to area businesses to learn best practices for gender pay equity.

To learn more about the commission, visit www.phoenix.gov/eod/commissions/phoenixwomens.

Karina Romero is a student in Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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