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West Sacramento News-Ledger

Mayor and Council Fight Strong for Equity

Apr 16, 2024 09:33AM ● By Angela Underwood, photos by Angela Underwood

Councilmember Quirina Orozco, who read the resolution of support for the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Women's Discrimination, initiated the formalizing support in December 2023.

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - West Sacramento’s all-women council and mayor passed two resolutions fighting for female empowerment.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the commitment to the California Equal Pay Pledge are now formally backed West Sacramento. Councilmember Quirina Orozco said that in December 2023, she and Councilmember Verna Sulpizio Hull wanted to formally support the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and in less than six months, they made it happen.

“It is an opportunity to overcome barriers and discrimination in political, social, and economic fields,” Orozco said of the program, which also addresses domestic violence, trafficking, affordable health care and childcare, economic security, educational and vocational opportunities, and other issues.

Pointing to her peers, Orozco said, “This is an issue as the state’s all-female councils I find to be very pressing, and I know we can all equally speak from our own perspectives as a mother of young children, as a social worker, as a nonprofit CEO, who deals with family services and direct childcare.”

The days of questioning female victims should be over, according to Orozco, who said high-profile celebrity cases of abuse must stop. 

“When you have to bring in survivor after survivor after survivor to convince one jury that there is a problem plaguing our society when it comes to being victimized and the doubts that we carry,” Orozco said.

Equal pay for women also received attention. Orozco said officials will conduct a study to see where they may be “falling short so we can come back and address these issues as a council and adopt policy changes if necessary.” Chair of the Sacramento County Commission on the Status of Women Erin Saberi stepped up to the podium to personally thanked Orozco, the rest of the council, and the mayor for the CEDAW resolution.

“We at the Sacramento County Commission want to offer our support for any work and implementation,” Saberi said. “If you want to pass an ordinance, we are helping the other cities in the county, and CEDAW Implementing Cities is one of our priorities in our work plan.”

Citing Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women history to its 1979 foundation at the United Nations General Assembly, Saberi detailed how the United States never formalized support.

“We are just one of only six countries in the world that have not ratified this important convention, so leave it to California cities to start taking it locally,” Saberi said, citing other Golden State cities that adopted Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women resolutions, beginning in 2004 in San Francisco.

Sacramento County Commission on the Status of Women

 Erin Saberi, chair of the Sacramento County Commission on the Status of Women, thanks West Sacramento officials for formalizing support in favor of women's equality.

Saberi said that in the last few years, some cities that have also taken a stand include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and now West Sacramento. 

“We are currently at a time when we think this is extremely important, and as you mentioned tonight when talking about children’s issues,” Saberi said.

Saberi said women were hard hit by the pandemic and remain stagnant, with data proving the same.

“Recently, California data show that on all indicators other than education, women are falling behind for the first time on some indicators in more than a decade,” Saberi said.

Mayor Martha Guerrero said she wants to see citywide change in favor of the resolution “assuring all women have enough early childcare centers, resources for women to get to work, and a guaranteed income program to help them climb out of poverty.

“We are struggling with poverty, and families are struggling, so in order for them to be able to be successful, we are going to have to do a lot more work,” Guerrero said. 

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