SA councilwoman proposes free child care for people on boards and commissions

District 5 councilwoman Shirley Gonzales leads effort to get more women involved in city government

SAN ANTONIO – District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales has requested city staff members look into child care options for people sitting on boards and commissions.

“For the last year or so, we’ve been addressing women’s issues on the council now that we have a majority female City Council. We’ve been addressing some of the issues that prevent women from being more active in their community, and the thing that rose to the surface was child care,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said different approaches to the issue have been discussed, including giving stipends to those paying for child care to attend meetings. Another idea was to offer child care where meetings are held.

“One of the things that would be more obvious is that we would have board and commission meetings or public meetings in spaces that already lend themselves to children. So that could be a public library. It could be YMCA,” Gonzales said.

This isn’t a new idea. Pittsburg city spokesman Tim McNulty said his city offers free child care for specific situations, which include at-large public hearings, in which the city’s budget, police, crime and economic development projects are discussed. Free child care is also offered to city employees on days when Pittsburgh public schools are off, but the city government is not.

Gonzales hopes this project is only the beginning of other changes.

“I do hope this is momentum and it forces government agencies, the private sector, to provide child care for women, working women -- affordable child care all over this city and all over the country,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said city staff members are currently looking into this issue.

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