Memphis council members express concerns about possible gender bias

(WMC-TV) - "I don't want to be disrespected on that council anymore," said Memphis council member Janis Fullilove during an exclusive interview Wednesday night.  "Don't want anybody to say anything inappropriate to me anymore," she added.

Fullilove said her second term will include the airing of any concern she has about possible inequality.

She and fellow council member Wanda Halbert recently shared concerns about possible gender bias.

"As one of two female council persons, I feel not only vilified by your response but disrespected as well," Fullilove wrote in a recent letter to council attorney Allan Wade concerning an opinion she requested that was shared with others first.

Council member Wanda Halbert followed with her own e-mail expressing similar concerns and referring to an exchange with council chairman Myron Lowery during which she was called illogical and emotional.

"If the two council ladies feel any negativity toward their actions or what they say, it has absolutely nothing to do with their gender," said council member Jim Strickland.

Strickland said his female counterparts may perceive bias, but it is simply misplaced in his opinion.

"I think it has to do with the substance of what they bring up, the substance of what they say," said Strickland.

Fullilove said it seems too coincidental she and Halbert feel the same way.

"I want to be treated as the other males on the council are treated," said Fullilove.  "With dignity and respect."

Council Chairman Myron Lowery is on business in Washington but told Action News 5 he does not believe there is gender bias on the council.  Halbert requested the city's human resources office investigate.  At this point, it is reportedly a council-level issue.

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