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San Antonio

City Council Passes Resolution Promoting Equity For Women

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (left) is joined by councilmembers Rebecca Viagran of District 3 and Ana Sandoval of District 7 and City Manager Sheryl Sculley after council's passage of the resolution Thursday.

The San Antonio City Council has approved a resolution asserting the rights of women in San Antonio.

The resolution, which was passed unanimously by council Thursday, puts the city’s focus on initiatives that eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault, promotes positive women’s health outcomes, and address inequitable access to economic and business opportunities. Council members hope it will inspire other companies and organizations do the same.

Fifty-one percent of San Antonio’s estimated 1.5 million residents are women, according to the 2017 census estimates. There are 11 members of the City Council, including the mayor, and three council members are women.

“The action we’ve taken today as a council is a strong statement about who we are as a city and about our vision for the future. I’m proud to do this for the young women, the girls who will see the council dais, notice that women are only 33 percent of this City Council and decide to do something about it,” District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said.

District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran is one of three council members who led the effort to get the resolution passed.

“We’re not just going to do a resolution but we’re also going to put strategies in place to move the needle on these issues including women representation on our boards and commissions,” she said.

That change in policy could lead to the city providing more money to non-profit agencies primarily focused on women, and help provide a bigger push to encourage women-owned businesses to apply for city contracts.

The policy changes compliment an increase in the number of women-owned businesses bidding for contracts. The number has increased from 3 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2017 of total applications submitted, according to City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

“But there is still a lot of work to be done … that we need to continue this and make this an even higher priority than it has been in the past,” she said.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there is a need to proactively advance opportunities for all women.

“For that to occur as the math points out, we must reduce domestic violence that disproportionately affects women, we must decrease disparities in health around maternal care that hold women back, and we must expand opportunities for entrepreneurship so that more women can start their own business,” Nirenberg said.

Gonzalez also filed a request that the city commission a study on the status of women in San Antonio, including demographics, political participation, violence and safety, health and wellbeing, and economic opportunity.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org at on Twitter at @Joeycules