MAYOR NUTTER yesterday signed an ordinance authorizing a ballot question concerning the creation of a Commission for Women in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.

"Women continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in this nation," said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who sponsored the ordinance. "Despite representing 52.8 percent of the city population, women occupy only 11 percent of corporate board seats in Philadelphia, and women of color represent less than 1 percent."

Nutter said his administration has made strides to "level the playing field" for women in the city, but more needs to be done.

"A Commission for Women would provide guidance about how we as a city can address structural inequities that leave women, and therefore their families, at a socioeconomic disadvantage that continues to threaten this city's potential," Nutter said.

The role of the commission would be to promote civic, educational and economic policies for women. It would provide advice and recommendations to the mayor and City Council on policies that would push equal rights and opportunities for women.

"This is a historic opportunity to bring women to the table of city government in an official capacity," Brown said. "As a world-class city, in which 'liberty and justice for all' was born, Philadelphia should not only have a Commission for Women; we should have the flagship Commission for Women and be considered a national thought leader on the topic of gender equality."

The ballot question will be presented to voters in the May 19 primary election.