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About Us
Organization
In 1964, Governor Mark Hatfield established the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women to advise him of the needs and concerns of Oregon women.  In 1983, Governor Victor Atiyeh gave the commission independent agency status, with a directive to continue its mission to strive for the implementation of programs and policies benefiting women. The Oregon Commission for Women was legislatively established in 1983 to work for women's equality. The commission does this by advocating for women in the community, providing information on women to the governor and state legislature, serving as a link for women to state agencies, and providing services to individual women in Oregon. The commission meets at various locations around the state to gather information about women. It also publishes a handbook called Oregon Women and the Law, as well as holding an annual fundraiser to honor Oregon's outstanding women. The commission's women's educational program provides seminars statewide on women's health, wellness and financial literacy. The commission produces a quarterly newsletter.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Oregon Commission for Women is to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal, and political equality for women and to maintain a continuing assessment of the issues and needs confronting women in Oregon.

Principles & Values Statement
We believe:
  • in the importance of cultural, ethnic, gender, age and ability diversity in the workplace, educational system, and other venues and protection against discrimination.
  • that all women deserve full and equal treatment under the law.
  • that women deserve equal employment opportunities and treatment.
  • in the importance of access to information and resources for women needing housing, legal help, food, education, health care, counseling, and business startup capital.
  • that women need improved access to educational and training opportunities.
  • that it is important to celebrate and provide education about women’s achievements in all areas.

Goals
  1. To advocate for cultural, ethnic, gender, age and ability diversity in the workplace, educational system, and other venues, and seek meaningful protection against discrimination.
  2. To advocate for full and equal treatment of women under the law.
  3. To advocate for equal opportunity and treatment for women in employment.
  4. To ensure that women in need of housing, legal help, food, education, health care, counseling, business startup capital, etc. have access to information and resources.
  5. To advocate for equality of educational and training opportunities for women in Oregon.
  6. To celebrate with and educate Oregonians about women’s achievements in all areas.
  7. To increase the viability and visibility of the Commission for Women.

History
About the Commission
The OCFW Story

In 1964 Governor Mark Hatfield established the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women to advise him of the needs and concerns of women in Oregon. In 1983, Governor Victor Atiyeh gave the Commission independent agency status with a directive to continue its mission and the Legislature created the Oregon Commission for Women to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, legal, political, and social equality of women, and to continually assess the needs and issues of women and girls. The agency is overseen by an 11-member board of directors who are actively involved in policy setting and attending to the growth of the Commission.

We achieve our mission of advocating for women’s equality by providing information, education, and advocacy to the Governor, the Legislature, community leaders, and members of the public on issues important to the lives of Oregon’s women. We produce a biennial report on the status of women in Oregon and we listen to the needs of women through our public Focus Meetings.

The Commission also sends out a quarterly newsletter; performs research; produces educational materials such as the “Oregon Women and the Law” legal handbook; provides information and referrals for citizens with questions or problems; and acts upon citizens’ complaints when appropriate. The Commission serves in advisory and informational capacities to public officials and non-profit organizations in Oregon and other states in order to benefit women and girls throughout the country.

The Commission often receives invitations to speak at conferences, workshops, businesses, organizations, and educational institutions on matters related to health, legal rights, domestic violence and the economic status of women.

Since 2001 the Commission has administered the Communities in Partnership to Stop Violence Against Women and Children (CPSVAWC) AmeriCorps Program. This statewide program provides educators, advocates, attorneys, and paralegals to work toward a strengthened community response to end violence against women and children.

We believe that an important part of advocating for women is to give them the tools to be their own best advocates. We do this through educational forums on issues including: women’s leadership, women’s health, women and economics, and women and the law. We celebrate the accomplishments of women in Oregon through our annual Women of Achievement Awards presentation. We also provide a place for information dissemination, connection, collaboration and partnership among women serving agencies throughout Oregon.

 
Legislation Establishing the Commission
  COMMISSION FOR WOMEN
Oregon Revised Statute 185.510-570
 
185.510 Policy; report.
(1) It is declared to be the policy and intent of the Legislative Assembly that the Commission for Women is created to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal and political equality for women and to maintain a continuing assessment of the issues and needs confronting women in Oregon.
(2) The commission shall submit to the Governor at the commencement of each biennium a report containing the concerns and issues confronting the women of Oregon which have been identified pursuant to the terms of ORS 185.510 to 185.550 and further identifying the programs, projects and activities which the commission will undertake regarding those issues. [1983 c.105 s.1]
 
185.520 Commission for Women; confirmation; term; officers; meetings; funds.
(1) The membership of the Commission for Women shall be comprised of 11 members, to include two representatives from the Legislative Assembly, one appointed by the President of the Senate, one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nine members shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate pursuant to section 4, Article III, Oregon Constitution.
(2) Members appointed by the Governor shall serve for three-year terms. Legislators shall serve two-year terms.
(3) The Governor shall designate the chairperson of the commission to serve for a term of one year.
(4) Members shall meet at the call of the chairperson not less than three times annually.
(5) Consistent with Oregon law, the commission may receive and accept funds for purposes consistent with the creation of the commission. [1983 c.105 s.2]
 
185.530 Special study committees.
(1) The commission may establish ad hoc committees to study specific areas and make periodic reports to the commission.
(2) The chairpersons of such ad hoc committees shall be appointed by the chairperson of the commission, subject to approval by the commission.
(3) Membership on ad hoc committees shall not be limited to members of the commission.
(4) The period during which an ad hoc committee may function shall be determined at the time of its creation by the commission according to the nature of the study and project undertaken.
(5) Members of the ad hoc committees shall be designated as consultants to the full commission. [1983 c.105 s.3; 1995 c.79 s.67]
 
185.540 Duties.
The Commission for Women shall:
(1)(a) Analyze the legal status of women and men under the laws of Oregon relating to civil rights, contracts, income, property and the family in order to assure full equality and treatment under the law;
(b) Monitor the implementation of laws affecting the legal rights and duties of women; and
(c) Educate women about their legal rights and responsibilities under the law.
(2)(a) Work for equal opportunity and treatment for women in employment through an analysis of the employment policies and practices of employers, both public and private;
(b) Evaluate the development of methods to assure fuller employment options for women including nontraditional job opportunities, child care, job sharing and flextime and part-time employment; and
(c) Examine methods to develop greater employment opportunities and potentials for women with particular consideration for the needs of minority women, older women, rural women and displaced homemakers.
(3)(a) Evaluate the progress of providing equality of educational opportunities for women in Oregon as mandated by state and federal law;
(b) Assist efforts to inform women about nontraditional educational and employment opportunities; and
(c) Promote the elimination of sexist and racist barriers in the educational process, such as staffing patterns, teacher training, curriculum and textbook selection.
(4)(a) Encourage women to pursue a variety of roles in life, both in the community and in the family;
(b) Promote the full recognition of the contributions of women whether in the home, as volunteers in the community or in the labor market;
(c) Promote the valuation of work within the home at a level comparable with work outside the home; and
(d) Investigate family relationships which are detrimental to women and to the development of productive family life.
(5) Encourage and recommend women to serve on appointive boards and commissions and encourage them to seek elective office.
(6) Identify and address issues which may be unique to special categories of women including minority women, juvenile women, older women, rural women and displaced homemakers. [1983 c.105 s.5; 1995 c.79 s.68; 1995 c.278 s.29]
 
185.550 Compensation and expenses.
(1) Members of the commission who are not members of the Legislative Assembly shall be paid compensation and expenses as provided in ORS 292.495. Such compensation and expenses shall be paid from the budget of the commission or from member agency accounts subject to applicable state law. Members of ad hoc committees shall not receive such compensation.
(2) Members of the commission who are members of the Legislative Assembly shall be paid compensation and expense reimbursement as provided in ORS 171.072, payable from funds appropriated to the Legislative Assembly. [1983 c.105 s.4; 1987 c.879 s.8; 1991 c.643 s.36]
 
185.560 Service contracts for child care information and referral.
(1) The Commission for Women may enter into service contracts on a competitive bid basis to public and private agencies, organizations and individuals for the purpose of establishing and operating community child care program information and referral services.
(2) The commission shall receive, evaluate and approve contract proposals pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
(3) Contract proposals shall be in such form and contain such information as the commission shall specify.
(4) As used in this section, “child care program” means a publicly funded or privately operated program providing care of a child for a portion of the day, but less than 24 hours, outside of the child's own home, but does not include any program whose primary component is psychiatric treatment. [1985 c.462 s.1; 1995 c.278 s.30]
 
185.570 Commission for Women Account.
(1) There is created a Commission for Women Account in the General Fund of the State Treasury. All moneys in the account are continuously appropriated for and shall be used by the Commission for Women, created by Executive Order 75-9, to carry out its purposes.
(2) All gifts and grants received by the commission or by the state for purposes of the commission shall be deposited in the account. [Formerly 184.940]