City of Chattanooga
Mayor's Council for Women
About the Mayor's Council for Women
The Mayor's Council for Women was first announced by Mayor Andy Berke at his 2015 State of the City Address. The Council was tasked by Mayor Berke with making policy recommendations about issues affecting women within Chattanooga and across the region.
In addition, the Mayor enlisted the help of State Representative JoAnne Favors and Chattanooga City Council Chair Dr. Carol Berz as the co-chairs for the inaugural Council. Representative Favors and Dr. Berz established a framework for the development of the Council to allow women from all walks of life and professions to participate. The Council consists of six committees organized around broad categories - Economic Opportunity, Education, Health, History, Justice, and Leadership. Each committee has at least two organizers and approximately a dozen members.
About Our Areas of Focus
Originally, the Mayor's Council for Women was structured with six different committees- Economic Opportunity, Education, Health, Justice, History, and Leadership. Based on the model successfully used by Tennessee Economic Council for Women, the purpose of the Mayor's Council for Women is to support existing City programs that focus on women and to provide research and guidance that inform the City on relevant issues and public policy necessary to address the barriers keeping women from reaching economic self-sufficiency and becoming contributing members of the community. Based on this goal, the original Council saw it was best fit to focus on and prioritize these original six areas. With these priorities in mind, many sub-topics emerged over time.
As the Mayor's Council for Women has evolved over time, the work plan that was originally envisioned has remained on target, guided by the committee of organizers. The great success of the Mayor's Council for Women's first Statewide Policy Conference, held in February 2018, pointed to three key interest areas for Chattanooga and Tennessee women today. In August 2018, Mayor's Council for Women leadership initiated a re-organization plan based upon these benchmarks, resulting in the current three areas of focus:
Chairwoman- Darcee Lee
This group focuses on issues that relate to economic self-sufficiency and political engagement. More specifically, current work groups for the Empowerment area of focus include predatory lending (Jennifer Harper), pay equity, and ageism (Valerie Radu/Criss Grant).
Chairwomen- Katherlyn Geter/Donna Hobgood/Donna Maddox
This group focuses on issues that relate to healthcare and access to care. Current work groups that have emerged from the Health area of focus include fitness (Jenni Berz/Melony Collins) and healthy sexuality education (Bea Lurie/Tracie Durham/Marcy Porter).
Chairwomen- Brenda Freeman Short/Terri Lee
This group focuses on issues that relate to justice for women in Chattanooga and in Tennessee. Current work groups include sexual harassment (Terri Lee), human trafficking (Anna Protano-Biggs/Mimi Nikkel), and shackling of pregnant women (Brenda Freeman Short).
There are also four general committees that represent the overarching interests and work of the Mayor's Council for Women as a whole.
Committee of Organizers (Dr. Carol Berz)
"Leadership Matters" Publication (Dominique Brandt)
Women's Monument (Stacy Richardson)
Statewide Women's Policy Conference (Eva Dillard)