Commission on the Status of Women
Commission on the Status of Women -- Annual Report 1997-98July 1, 1997 - June 30, 1998
Presented to the Board of Supervisors September 1, 1998
The Humboldt County Commission on the Status of Women, authorized by Ordinances 1178 and 757, was created in March 1971. Members are appointed to four-year terms by the Board of Supervisors, with one representing each of the five supervisorial districts plus five at-large appointments.
The commission advises the Board in all matters concerning the status of women within the county. It oversees basic and legitimate women's concerns by working for the elimination of such inequities in laws, practices or conditions as may adversely affect the women and girls of Humboldt County. It provides consultation to public and private entities working to develop equitable programs to meet the special needs of women and girls. It acts as a two-way information agency for federal, state and local women's groups and other Status of Women Commissions. It helps promote awareness of women's unique role, whether in traditional fields or otherwise, by planning special study groups, workshops, conferences or events.
The members and their terms of office are as follows:
The commission meets monthly on the second Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., in Conference Room A at the County Courthouse. Additional meetings and educational forums may be held on the third Tuesday or as necessary. Notices of meetings are posted at the County Courthouse, are reported in the Times-Standard, the Humboldt Beacon, the Southern Humboldt Life and Times, and other community publications.
The Commission began the 1997-98 year with seven members. All have continued to serve except Bonnie Green, who resigned in June, 1998. Amber Marcia and Jennifer Van Der Heide were appointed to fill two of the vacancies. Two positions remained to be filled. In late June, 1998, Commissioners Marcia and Van der Heide resigned unexpectedly, to pursue career opportunities outside the county. This increased the vacancies to four, leaving six active commissioners.
The first order of business was the selection of officers for the year. Nancy Nieboer was elected Chairperson, with Simone Taylor as Vice-Chair, Diana Cooper as Secretary. Mary Ann Murphy served as Treasurer. Tera Prucha served as Secretary pro tem when needed.
The Commission is not funded by the County, but maintains a small account for donations. The account balance in July 1997 was $160.47 and $138.54 in June 1998, reflecting expenditure for the year of approximately $22. The funds were used for postage and copying costs. Some additional expenses were defrayed by members of the commission who generously contributed their funds, equipment and supplies.
Grant funding was requested from the Humboldt Area Foundation for purchase and duplication of videotapes to be duplicated for donation to Humboldt State University, Humboldt County Main Library, College of the Redwoods Career Center and the Women's Resource Center for public education and information.
CSW also issued a letter in support of a $300 grant request that would enable the HSU Media Center to upgrade its stage set area.
For 1998-99, a proposed call-in series on child abuse was to be planned by a committee chaired by Commissioner Marcia.
County Domestic Partnership
(February and March):
The Board proclaimed March as Women's History Month. A March display in the Main Library marked the achievements of local women and American women of note.
August 26, 1998 marks the 150th anniversary of the Women's Rights Movement.
Published Statements: Chairperson Nieboer responded to a Times-Standard editorial [August 31, 1997] which implied that women and minorities were less qualified to compete for "schooling, employment or contracting." The response defined "equal access," "equal opportunity" and "standards of qualification," and encouraged the editorial board to be guided by the principle of fairness implicit in affirmative action, as originally defined.
In October, the Chairperson communicated with the community via the three major newspapers following an attack on a senior woman in her home. The purpose of the letter was to commend the anonymous victim for planning some defensive measures before a nighttime break-in. It also encouraged readers to profit from her example by studying their own situations, seeking advice from the police or fire department, and preparing to respond quickly in case of fire or burglary.
Sheri Johnson, Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinator, Department of Public Health, spoke about the domestic violence prevention program grant received by the Health Department, and about child abuse issues in the county. She reported that problems identified in recent years by the civil grand jury are being addressed. There will be outreach to outlying areas of the county and to non-English-speaking residents, specifically the Hispanic and Hmong communities.
Suzanne Riley-Barri, CAL-WORKs Analyst, Department of Social Services, described this latest phase of the welfare-to-work program. She provided a wealth of printed information as background, and answered many questions and concerns about the way the developing program will actually work and the impacts-both positive and negative--on participants.
Child Support Legal Advocates Guide:
Inclusion in Directories:
National Association of Commissions
Commission on the Status of Women:
Outreach to Southern
and Eastern Humboldt:
1. We encourage the Board of Supervisors to carefully consider all CalWORKs policies and their impact on the lives of children and women within our community. We request that members of the Board be vigilant of their decisions and attentive to their responsibility to all citizens of our community and the tremendous impact their decisions will have on those living in poverty.
2. As the economic picture changes in Humboldt County, the
Commission would encourage the Board to recognize that the impact of economic
changes will fall most heavily on women and their children. We ask the Board to
plan affirmatively for the mitigation of those often subtle impacts.
For 1998-99, the officers will be Simone Taylor as Chairperson, Mary Ann Murphy as Vice-Chair, Tera Prucha as Secretary and Carol Cransdon as Treasurer.
Proposed activities and educational
forums for 1998-99:
The commission appreciates the assistance offered by members of the Board, the Clerk of the Board and the Board staff throughout the year. We look forward to working together in the new fiscal year and appreciate the continuing opportunity to advise the Board on matters affecting women and girls in the county.
A. Nieboer Simone Taylor