November 2, 2019  •  Chatham University

Free and open to the public. Childcare provided. Registration required.


This year’s symposium offers our community the time and space to do a deep dive together into the white paper, “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race.” Released recently by Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission, this groundbreaking report on gender and racial inequality in our city found serious disparities for all women, and especially for Black women and girls. Conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, the report looked at 50 different outcomes related to health, income, employment, and education.

The findings are stark, including: Pittsburgh’s Black maternal mortality rate is higher than 97 percent of other cities. Pittsburgh’s Black women are also less likely to be employed and more likely to live in poverty than Black women in 85 percent of cities. And Black men are experiencing higher occupational segregation, homicide rates, cancer and cardiovascular disease compared to Black men in other cities.

For many of Pittsburgh’s Black residents, these statistics are not surprising. However, this report does more than tell us what many already know. It does two new things that no analysis has offered before. First, the report uses an intersectional approach, looking at both gender and race together. This is the first gender analysis in the country to produce an empirical report on residents’ wellbeing that examines both of these at once. Second, the researchers created a brand new tool that compared Pittsburgh’s livability to 89 other cities. Even more important, the tool demonstrates where local factors are particularly impacting inequality, which suggests where interventions will be most effective.

As the report makes clear, Pittsburgh must address the reality that it is less livable for Black residents, and particularly Black women and girls, than the majority of U.S. cities. The factors described in the report are impacting real people, right now. Black women and girls are not just numbers or statistics, and the entire city has an obligation to act. This symposium is one opportunity to be involved. (To learn more about the Gender Equity Commission and the next steps it will be taking, please see the GEC Statement here.)


During the morning’s plenary session, the University of Pittsburgh scholars will walk us through the data and major findings. We will also have a moderated panel and audience Q&A. After their presentation, the audience will then move to break out sessions facilitated by community leaders, members of the Gender Equity Commission, and faculty members of the Pittsburgh Gender Scholars Consortium. When you register, you will choose one of four thematic areas from the report for your break out session (Health, Income & Poverty, Employment, and Education). The break out sessions will offer participants the opportunity to ask questions and engage in robust conversation around the issues raised in the report. The goal is to use our time together to tap the depth and breadth of expertise in our community with the aim of presenting actionable items to the Gender Equity Commission, which will be making policy recommendations to the City.


8:30AM Registration, coffee, networking

9:30AM Opening session / morning keynote, featuring University of Pittsburgh research team

11:00AM Moderated panel and Q&A

12:00PM Breakout sessions with lunch

1:00PM Wrap up


The symposium is open to all gender scholars, students, organizational leaders, policy makers, and community members committed to issues related to women, girls, and gender equity. For the past several years, the symposium has “sold out” within minutes. This year, we are adding seats and changing the format to accommodate more people. Thanks to sponsorship from the Women’s Institute at Chatham University, the symposium will remain free and open to the public with registration. Lunch is included. Childcare is available upon request with registration.


The morning sessions will feature scholars who co-authored the report,
“Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race”:

  • Junia Howell, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Howell’s research focuses on how cities can foster equity for all residents.
  • Sara Goodkind, Ph.D., M.S.W., is Associate Professor of Social Work, Sociology, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on social service programs and systems that work with young people.
  • Leah A. Jacobs, Ph.D., M.S.W., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. She studies criminal justice involvement and behavioral health, focusing on related socio-structural risk factors and points of intervention.
  • Dominique Branson, is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. She studies the correlation between African American Language and the social outcomes of Black Americans, particularly in the U.S. Criminal Justice System.
  • Liz Miller, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor in Pediatrics, Public Health, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Her research addresses interpersonal violence prevention and adolescent health promotion in clinical and community settings.