The New York City Council is considering a measure (Int. No. 2064) to establish a gender equity advisory board to counsel and advise the mayor and council on issues relating to gender inequity in hospitals.
The goal of the proposed legislation is to create an advisory body that will help city officials understand the issues of gender inequity in patient care, hiring and other operations in hospitals throughout the City. The advisory board will also work to coordinate efforts to address these issues at all levels of government.
The United Nations Population Fund defines gender equity as the process of being fair to men and women. To achieve gender equality—the equal enjoyment of social goods, opportunities, resources and rewards by men, women and those with other gender identities—gender equity must first occur.
To achieve gender equity, different governments and institutions often must adopt unique strategies to address the historical disadvantages that often inhibit one gender’s success and access to opportunity as opposed to others.
In the healthcare field alone, significant gender inequities still exist around the world. According to Partners in Health:
“Around the world, gender inequality leads to stark health inequities for women and LGBTQIA+ identities people who confront unique health issues and barriers to care. Pregnancy and childbirth, sexual- and gender-based violence, and breast and cervical cancers are just a few of the conditions that merit access to specialized, high-quality health care. Yet in settings of poverty, such care often doesn’t exist. Where it does, marginalized groups may be unable to access it in the face of overwhelming obstacles, from a lack of educational and economic opportunities to limited autonomy and bodily safety.”
The board will be tasked with meeting at least twice per year to compile an annual report that will help the council consider gender equity issues in city hospitals by outlining:
- Factors that contribute to this inequity, especially in hiring and patient care.
- Current protocols used by hospitals to address these issues in employment practices.
- Recommended methods to address gender inequity in hospitals.
- Ways to raise awareness of and support legislation to address gender equity in hospitals at the local, state and national levels.
Under the proposed law, the council will consist of 13 members:
- The speaker of the city council
- The commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
- The executive director of the Commission on Women and Gender Equity
- The chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights
- Nine members of the public (eight appointed by the mayor and one appointed by the council speaker)
These nine public members must “represent a diverse range of individuals, of whom at least one member shall represent advocates who specialize in gender equity.” At least three of them must be doctors, nurses, physician assistants or direct care workers employed by hospitals, or of employee organizations representing these professionals.