San Francisco, CA CEDAW Ordinance

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San Francisco, CA, US

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Type: Administrative Code

Status: Adopted via ordinance in 1998 and last amended in 2000

Source File:



The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco hereby finds and declares as follows:

(a) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international human rights treaty, provides a universal definition of discrimination against women and brings attention to a whole range of issues concerning women's human rights. Countries that ratify CEDAW are mandated to condemn all forms of discrimination against women and girls and to ensure equality for women and girls in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural arenas. The United Nations General Assembly adopted CEDAW in 1979 and President Carter signed the treaty on behalf of the United States in 1980, but the United States Senate has not yet ratified CEDAW.

(b) On October 30, 1997, a consortium of community organizations, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Commission and Board of Supervisors President Barbara Kaufman held a hearing on the local implications of CEDAW. The testimony at the hearing demonstrated that women and girls continue to face discrimination in the areas of economic development and employment, violence against women and girls, and health care. On November 10, 1997, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 1021-97, supporting the local implementation of the underlying principles of CEDAW and urging the United States Senate to ratify CEDAW. On November 17, 1997, Mayor Willie Brown approved Resolution No. 1021-97.

(c) There is a continued need for the City and County of San Francisco to protect the human rights of women and girls by addressing discrimination, including violence, against them and to implement, locally, the principles of CEDAW. Adherence to the principles of CEDAW on the local level will especially promote equal access to and equity in health care, employment, economic development and educational opportunities for women and girls and will also address the continuing and critical problems of violence against women and girls. There is a need to analyze the operations of City departments, policies and programs to identify discrimination in, but not limited to, employment practices, budget allocation and the provision of direct and indirect services and, if identified, to remedy that discrimination. In addition, there is a need to work toward implementing the principles of CEDAW in the private sector.

(d) There is a need to strengthen effective national and local mechanisms, institutions and procedures and to provide adequate resources, commitment and authority to: (1) advise on the impact of all government policies on women and girls; (2) monitor the situation of women comprehensively; and (3) help formulate new policies and effectively carry out strategies and measures to eliminate discrimination. The Commission on the Status of Women shall be designated as the implementing and monitoring agency of CEDAW in the City and County of San Francisco.

(e) In April 1998, the City and County of San Francisco originally enacted this ordinance implementing the principles underlying CEDAW. In 1998, City officials and community representatives formed a CEDAW Task Force. In 1999, the CEDAW Task Force and the Commission on the Status of Women developed "Guidelines for a Gender Analysis," a set of guidelines to assist City departments in implementing the local principles of CEDAW. In 1999, two City departments used the Guidelines to analyze their departments. The resulting report, "A Gender Analysis: Implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (November 1999) demonstrated a continuing need to work on elimination of discrimination against women. The Report further revealed that discrimination based on gender is interconnected and often overlaps with discrimination based on race and other criteria.

(f) The Report called on the City and County of San Francisco and its departments to:

(1) Increase education in human rights with a gender perspective;
(2) Expand the collection of data disaggregated by gender, race and other traits; and
(3) Create a more fair and equitable workplace by increasing effective recruitment efforts for a diverse workforce, providing meaningful family friendly policies to retain employees and increasing professional development and training opportunities for all employees.

The Report revealed the need to analyze policies, procedures and programs on a Citywide, in addition to, department level. Both the Report and the department human rights trainings revealed the need to consider the intersection of gender and race in particular recognizing the unique experiences of women of color.

As used in this Article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings indicated herein:

(a) "City or City and County" shall mean the City and County of San Francisco.

(b) "Commission" shall mean the Commission on the Status of Women.

(c) "Disaggregated data" shall mean information collected and analyzed by enumerated categories in order to identify the disparities existing between women and men. These categories shall include, to the extent permitted by law, sex, race, immigration status, parental status, language, sexual orientation, disability, age and other attributes.

(d) "Discrimination against women" shall include, but not be limited to, any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex that has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. The definition of discrimination includes gender-based violence, that is, violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty by family, community or government.

(e) "Gender" shall mean the way society constructs the difference between women and men, focusing on their different roles, responsibilities, opportunities and needs, rather than their biological differences.

(f) "Gender analysis" shall mean an examination of the cultural, economic, social, civil, legal and political relations between women and men within a certain entity, recognizing that women and men have different social roles, responsibilities, opportunities and needs and that these differences, which permeate our society, affect how decisions and policy are made.

(g) "Gender equity" shall mean the redress of discriminatory practices and establishment of conditions enabling women to achieve full equality with men, recognizing that needs of women and men may differ, resulting in fair and equitable outcomes for both.

(h) "Human rights" shall mean the rights every individual possesses that are intended to improve the conditions in society that protect each person's dignity and well-being and the humanity of all people.

(i) "Racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

It shall be the goal of the City to implement the principles underlying CEDAW, listed in Section 12K.6 by addressing discrimination against women and girls in areas including economic development, violence against women and girls and health care. In implementing CEDAW, the City recognizes the connection between racial discrimination, as articulated in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and discrimination against women. The City shall ensure that the City does not discriminate against women in areas including employment practices, allocation of funding and delivery of direct and indirect services. The City shall conduct gender analyses, as described in Section 12K.4, to determine what, if any, City practices and policies should change to implement the principles of CEDAW.

(a) Economic Development.

(1) The City shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in the City of San Francisco in employment and other economic opportunities, including, but not limited to, ensuring:
(A) The right to the same employment opportunities, including the application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment and the right to receive access to and vocational training for nontraditional jobs;
(B) The right to promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service, regardless of parental status, particularly encouraging the appointment of women to decision making posts, City revenue generating and managing commissions and departments, and judicial positions;
(C) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits and to equal pay in respect to work of equal value;
(D) The right to the protection of health and safety in working conditions, including supporting efforts not to purchase sweatshop goods, regular inspection of work premises, and protection from violent acts at the workplace.
(2) The City shall encourage and, where possible, fund the provisions of the necessary supporting social services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establishment and development of a network of child care facilities, paid family leave, family-friendly policies and work-life balance.
(3) The City shall encourage the use of public education and all other available means to urge financial institutions to facilitate women's access to bank accounts, loans, mortgages, and other forms of financial services.

(b) Violence Against Women and Girls.

(1) The City shall take and diligently pursue all appropriate measures to prevent and redress sexual and domestic violence against women and girls, including, but not limited to:
(A) Police enforcement of criminal penalties and civil remedies, when appropriate;
(B) Providing appropriate protective and support services for survivors, including counseling and rehabilitation programs;
(C) Providing gender-sensitive training of City employees regarding violence against women and girls, where appropriate; and
(D) Providing rehabilitation programs for perpetrators of violence against women or girls, where appropriate. The City shall not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, culture, language or sexual orientation, when providing the above supportive services.
(2) It shall be the goal of the City to take all necessary measures to protect women and girls from sexual harassment in their places of employment, school, public transportation, and any other places where they may be subject to harassment. Such protection shall include streamlined and rapid investigation of complaints.
(3) Prostitutes are especially vulnerable to violence because their legal status tends to marginalize them. It shall be the policy of San Francisco that the Police Department diligently investigate violent attacks against prostitutes and take efforts to establish the level of coercion involved in the prostitution, in particular where there is evidence of trafficking in women and girls. It shall be the goal of the City to develop and fund projects to help prostitutes who have been subject to violence and to prevent such acts.
(4) The City shall ensure that all public works projects include measures, such as adequate lighting, to protect the safety of women and girls.
(5) It shall be the goal of the City to fund public information and education programs to change traditional attitudes concerning the roles and status of women and men.

(c) Health Care.

(1) It shall be the goal of the City to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equity, information about and access to adequate health care facilities and services, according to the needs of all communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, language, and sexual orientation, including information, counseling and services in family planning.
(2) It shall be the goal of the City to ensure that women and girls receive appropriate services in connection with prenatal care, delivery, and the post-natal period, granting free services where possible, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.

(d) In undertaking the enforcement of this ordinance, the City is assuming an undertaking only to promote the general welfare. It is not assuming, nor is it imposing on its officers and employees, an obligation for breach of which it is liable in money damages to any person who claims that such breach proximately caused injury.


(a) Citywide integration of human rights principles. The City shall work towards integrating gender equity and human rights principles into all of its operations, including policy, program and budgetary decision-making. The Commission shall train selected departments in human rights with a gender perspective.

(b) Gender Analysis and Action Plan. As a tool for determining whether the City is implementing the local principles of CEDAW and/or discriminating against women and girls, selected City departments, programs, policies, and private entities to the extent permitted by law, shall undergo a gender analysis and develop an Action Plan. The gender analysis shall be conducted according to guidelines developed by the CEDAW Task Force and Commission. The gender analysis shall include: (i) the collection of disaggregateddata; (ii) an evaluation of gender equity in the entity's operations, including its budget allocations, delivery of direct and indirect services and employment practices and (iii) the entity's integration of human rights principles and the local principles of CEDAW as set forth in section 12K.3. Upon completion of the gender analysis, the entity shall develop an Action Plan that contains specific recommendations on how it will correct any identified deficiencies and integrate human rights principles and the local principles of CEDAW into its operations.

(1) The CEDAW Task Force shall identify the City departments, programs, policies, and entities, to undergo the gender analysis and shall develop timelines for completion of the analyses and Action Plans. In the absence of Task Force action, the Commission shall make the selections.
(2) The Commission shall train the selected department, entity, policy or program staff to conduct its gender analysis and shall provide technical assistance to the entity throughout the gender analysis process and development of the Action Plan.
(3) Each department or entity undergoing a gender analysis shall designate a management and/or executive level employee to serve as a liaison to the Commission and to coordinate the completion of the gender analysis.
(4) Each department or entity undergoing a gender analysis shall provide a report on its gender analysis and its Action Plan to the CEDAW Task Force and the Commission, which shall review, analyze and comment on the report and forward it to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor.
(5) The Commission shall monitor the implementation of each department or entity's Action Plan.

(c) Five-year Citywide Action Plan. Provided sufficient funds are available, the Commission and the CEDAW Task Force shall jointly develop a five-year Citywide Action Plan. The Citywide Action Plan shall address how to integrate human rights principles into the City's operations, how to further implement the local principles of CEDAW as described in Section 12K.3, any and all deficiencies found in the gender analyses and the measures recommended to correct those deficiencies. The Commission and the CEDAW Task Force shall present the Action Plan to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on or before December 30, 2002. The Board of Supervisors Committee responsible for considering the City's budget shall hold a hearing to receive the Citywide Action Plan and public comment thereon. The Commission shall monitor the implementation of the Citywide Action Plan.


(a) Establishment. A CEDAW Task Force is hereby established. The Task Force shall report to the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors and the Commission. The Commission shall provide administrative support for the Task Force. The Task Force shall consist of 11 members.

(b) Purpose. The Task Force is established to advise the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors and the Commission about the local implementation of CEDAW.

(c) Powers and Duties. The Task Force shall have all powers and duties necessary to carry out the local implementation of CEDAW as described in Section 12K.4.

(d) Membership and Organization.

(1) The members of the Task Force shall be as follows:
(A) The President of the Human Rights Commission or her or his designee;
(B) A staff member from the Mayor's Office knowledgeable about the City's budget, to be designated by the Mayor;
(C) The head of the Department of Human Resources or her or his designee;
(D) The President of the Board of Supervisors or her or his designee;
(E) The President of the Commission or her or his designee;
(F) Six members from the community to be appointed by the Commission, as follows:
(i) Two representatives shall work in the field of international human rights and be knowledgeable about CEDAW,
(ii) One representative shall be knowledgeable about economic development, including employment issues,
(iii) One representative shall be knowledgeable about health care issues,
(iv) One representative shall be knowledgeable about violence against women, and
(v) One representative shall be knowledgeable about City unions and experienced in women's issues.
(2) The Task Force shall convene by June 1, 1998.
(3) The Task Force shall expire on June 30, 2003, unless its powers are renewed by the Board of Supervisors. When the Task Force expires, the Commission shall take on the leadership and responsibilities previously designated to the Task Force.
(4) All appointed members of Task Force shall serve at the pleasure of their appointing authorities. The term of each community member of the CEDAW Task Force shall be for two years; provided however, that the initial members shall, by lot, classify their terms so that three members shall serve a two-year term and two members shall serve a three-year term. Subject to the expiration of the Task Force, their successors shall be appointed for a two-year term; provided, however, that any member may be reappointed for consecutive terms.

(e) Alternate members. An alternate may be designated for each member. Ex officio members enumerated in Subsection (d)1(A)--(E) may designate a person to serve as her or his alternate. The Commission may appoint alternate members for those community members enumerated in Subsection (d)(1)(F). The term of office of the alternate shall be the same as that of the regular member. When the regular member is not present at the meeting of the Task Force, the alternate may act as the regular member and shall have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the regular member.

(f) Attendance requirement. The President of the Commission, or her or his designee, shall monitor the attendance of the Task Force. In the event that any community member, enumerated in Subsection (d)(1)(F), and her or his alternate miss three regularly scheduled meetings of the Task Force without the prior notice to the Task Force, the President or her or his designee shall certify in writing to the Commission that the member and alternate have missed three meetings. On the date of such certification, the member and alternate shall be deemed to have resigned from the Task Force. The President or her or his designee shall notify the Commission of the resignation and request the appointment of a new member and alternate.


Article 1: Defines discrimination against women as any "distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of marital status, on the basis of equality between men and women, of human rights or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field."

Article 2. Mandates concrete steps, implementing laws, policies and practices to eliminate discrimination against women and embody the principle of equality.

Article 3. Requires action in all fields--civil, political, economic, social, and cultural--to advance the human rights of women.

Article 4. Permits affirmative action measures to accelerate equality and eliminate discrimination.

Article 5. Recognizes the role of culture and tradition, and calls for the elimination of sex role stereotyping.

Article 6. Requires suppression of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitutes.

Article 7. Mandates ending discrimination against women in political and public life.

Article 8. Requires action to allow women to represent their governments internationally on an equal basis with men.

Article 9. Mandates that women will have equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality and that of their children.

Article 10. Obligates equal access to all fields of education and the elimination of stereotyped concepts of the roles of men and women.

Article 11. Mandates the end of discrimination in the field of employment and recognizes the right to work as a human right.

Article 12. Requires steps to eliminate discrimination from the field of health care, including access to family planning. If necessary, these services must be free of charge.

Article 13. Requires that women be ensured equal access to family benefits, bank loans, credit, sports and cultural life.

Article 14. Focuses on the particular problems faced by rural women.

Article 15. Guarantees equality before the law and equal access to administer property.

Article 16. Requires steps to ensure equality in marriage and family relations.

Article 17. Calls for the establishment of a committee to evaluate the progress of the implementation of CEDAW.

Articles 18--30. Set forth elements of the operation of the treaty.

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