Bill to require contractors to disclose executives' gender breakdown
Council member Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced the measure on March 14
March 20, 2013, 10:21 pm·
For one Philadelphia council member, there is still work to be done to ensure gender equality in the workplace.
On March 14, council member Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation to compel contractors applying to work with the city of Philadelphia to disclose the number of female executives in their company.
Since March is Women’s History Month, Reynolds Brown thought this was the perfect time to propose the bill. And she is confident that it will be passed on to the mayor.
“This is an opportunity as a member of Philadelphia to show that women are continuing to pay attention” to gender equality, she said.
This bill will affect Penn “only to the extent that the university wants to do business with the city of Philadelphia,” Reynolds Brown said.
Penn is the second largest employer in Philadelphia, a 2010 study by Econsult, an economic consulting firm showed. Out of the 18 senior administrators at Penn, seven are women.
The bill does not have the power to require all organizations in Philadelphia to disclose, only those that wish to work with the city.
“Penn will monitor developments with the proposed bill to determine what effect, if any, it will have on Penn,” Penn Communications Manager for Human Resources Terri Ryan said in an email.
Even if the bill doesn’t directly affect employment at Penn, Reynolds Brown still sees this as an important bill for the university — one that affects every student.
“When women at Penn graduate,” she said. “They should not be comfortable with what their circumstances are because we still have to fight for equality on behalf of women.”
Reynolds Brown recently released a report called “Women on Corporate Boards: We Can Do Better,” which explores issues of gender inequalities in the workplace.
According to the report, women hold only 11 percent of the board seats in the top 100 companies in the Philadelphia region.
Reynolds Brown was extremely dissatisfied with her findings.
“If we keep it at the rate we’re going, my [16-year-old] daughter will be 75 years old before we get gender equality,” she said.
The new bill that Reynolds Brown proposed was one of the steps mentioned in her report as a way to change this reality.
“It’s quite frankly a disgrace that we’re still having a discussion about equity for women,” Reynolds Brown said. “Women still make 75 cents to the dollar [compared to men].”
College senior and chair of Penn’s Consortium for Undergraduate Women Adrienne Edwards thinks that the bill is a move in the right direction.
“I think the bill rightfully encourages companies to be self-reflective when it comes to gender equity and gender diversity,” she said. “I think it could potentially lead to more concern for gender diversity within these companies and perhaps a renewed focus of gender diversity at different levels of leadership within Penn faculty and administration.”
While the bill has yet to include what measures will be taken if a company’s female representation does not meet a standard, that is something that Reynolds Brown plans on addressing if the bill is passed and becomes more well-known.
Another issue that Reynolds Brown said she needs to deal with is the pool of women from which companies can draw their employees.
“The pool of women has to be increased so that you have candidates that are ready to serve on corporate boards,” she said. “And that’s going to require some high level thinking and discussions.”