Indian American appointed Commissioner of Gender Equity agency in New York City

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Sasha Ahuja. Photo: Twitter

An Indian American, Sasha Ahuja, is among six new Commissioners to the Commission on Gender Equity (CGE), an agency tasked with supporting New York City agencies in dismantling institutional barriers for women, girls, transgender and gender non-binary New Yorkers.

The list of new appointees announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio includes strong leaders across a variety of diverse fields including healthcare, law, and nonprofit. The new Commissioners will work with CGE and the current Commissioners as partners and ambassadors for CGE’s work and the broader gender equity efforts of the de Blasio Administration. The newly appointed Commissioners are:

  • Sasha Ahuja, Chief of Staff at Girls for Gender Equity and Chair of New York City’s Equal Employment Practices Commission
  • Ivelyse Andino, CEO, Radical Health
  • Sherry Hakimi, Executive Director, genEquality
  • Chanel Porchia-Albert, Founder, Ancient Song Doula Services
  • Ellyn Toscano, Senior Director for Programming, Partnerships and Community Engagement, NYU in Brooklyn
  • Dr. Jillian Weiss, Special Counsel, Outten & Golden

“New York City is committed to using every tool we have to create a truly equal city for all New Yorkers, no matter their gender,” said de Blasio. “These new members bring invaluable expertise to the Commission and will continue our work in the fight for gender equity.”

“We are excited to welcome this dynamic group of leaders to the Commission on Gender Equity. Their passion, commitment and wealth of experience will contribute significant vigor to ending systemic inequality in our city. I look forward to working with our new Commissioners to create a safer, more inclusive, and economically fair city for all New Yorkers,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Co-Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity, in a statement.

Established in June 2015, CGE works to effectively address issues of inequity and discrimination facing women, girls, transgender, and gender non-binary individuals regardless of their ability, age, ethnicity/race, faith, gender expression, immigrant status, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. CGE works with various city agencies to help progress the Mayor’s goal of reducing gender-based inequity, by advancing a safer, more inclusive and economically mobile city for all New Yorkers.

“New York City’s mandate to promote gender equity – especially through a racial justice lens – could not be more urgent. I am eager to use my role as a Commissioner on New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity to ensure that folks most directly impacted by systemic inequity in our city have a seat at the decision making table to influence policy that impacts their lives,” said Ahuja, in a statement.

Ahuja is a community organizer who has worked to lead advocacy efforts and campaigns rooted in racial and gender equity. She got her start in the movement for social justice almost 15 years ago at the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

Since then, she has built her career facilitating community-driven policy change in government, in the labor movement and at local and national progressive organizations. Sasha served as Deputy Director of the Policy Division at the New York City Council under former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito where she helped New York City respond to a national call to action to invest in cis and Trans girls of color. At the Speaker’s office, she designed and executed the New York City Young Women’s Initiative (YWI), a participatory policymaking process to lift up young women and girls of color, engaging +200 advocates, senior officials across City agencies and the Mayor’s Office.

Ahuja currently serves as Chief of Staff at Girls for Gender Equity, a Brooklyn-based organization that led the New York City Young Women’s Initiative and has served as a hub for the movement to end gender-based violence, centering girls of color. In July 2019, she was also appointed to Chair New York City’s Equal Employment Practices Commission. Sasha is an Adjunct Instructor of Social Policy at several schools of Social Work across New York City. She holds a BA from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and a MS in Social Work from Columbia University.

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