Chris Sanders, the executive director at the Tennessee Equality Project, has been selected by Mayor Megan Barry to sit on a new panel created to assess and recommend solutions pertaining to gender inequity issues in the city.

He joins Jeff Teague, CEO at Planned Parenthood of Nashville & Middle Tennessee and Hal Cato, CEO at Thistle Farms.

Thistle Farms employs more than 45 survivors of prostitution, trafficking and addiction through a number of social enterprises that include a bath and body line, home goods line, a café, artisan studio, all in addition to the Magdalene program which services up to 700 women annually and includes a two-year residential program.

Cato was honored by the Human Rights Campaign with its Community Champion Award in 2012.

The council’s highest profile member is musician and singer/songwriter Jack White (photo above).

An executive order, the mayor’s Council on Gender Equity is a 45-member panel that consists of a diverse group of leaders spanning pubic and private industries, non-profit organizations and academia. The council will be co-chaired by Pat Shea, CEO of YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, and Ronald Roberts, CEO of DVL Seigenthaler.

According to a press release, the goal of the Council on Gender Equity is to provide the Mayor with data informed recommendations and advice to address the existence of systemic differences in benefits and opportunities that might be unfairly provided to one gender but not another. The Council will recommend solutions for issues in which gender inequity appears to exist in Nashville in the specific areas of economic opportunities, family services, health and safety, and data integration. 

“By creating the Council on Gender Equity, we can celebrate the diversity in our community while recognizing that we have strides to make in promoting fairness in our institutions,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “Everyone deserves access to services and opportunities, regardless of gender.”

Members of the Council include: Maura-Lee Albert, Garlinda Burton, Judge Sheila Calloway, Hal Cato, Dave Cooley, Richard Courtney, Judy Cummings, Councilmember Anthony Davis, Laura Delgado, Bonnie Dow, Corbett Doyle, Mark Emkes, Brenda Gadd, Elizabeth Gedmark, Tracey George, Joey Hatch, Kate Herman, Phyllis Hildreth, Susan Allen Huggins, Councilmember Mina Johnson, Rita Johnson-Mills, Wanda Lyle, Rita Mitchell, Mekesha Montgomery, Sara Beth Myers, Marian Ott, Rose Palermo, Shelia Peters, Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Lisa Quigley, Billye Sanders, Chris Sanders, Linda Schacht, Julie Stevens, Sherry Stewart Deutschmann, Jeff Teague, Katy Varney, Leigh Walton, Jack White, Cynthia Whitfield, and Agenia Clark.

In a Facebook post after the announcement, Teague said, “I'm honored and humbled to be asked by the Mayor to serve and to do the important work of guaranteeing gender equity in Nashville. Plus look who I get to serve with! Amazing group of people.”

Regarding his plans for the council, Sanders said, “I think rather than focus on any particular issues I want to help the Council operate with the broadest possible understanding of gender regardless of the issue we are addressing. Transgender and non-binary concerns are essential to an inclusive understanding of gender.”






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