Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women undertook a 22-month study “to examine and recommend remedies to combat the…prejudices and outmoded customs [that] act as barriers to the full realization of women’s basic rights.”

Kennedy appointed Eleanor Roosevelt, former US delegate to the United Nations and widow of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to chair the President’s Commission. She had played a key role in establishing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and she’d defended both women’s economic opportunity and women’s traditional role in the family, so she could be expected to have the respect of those on both sides of the protective legislation issue.

Its report, issued in 1963, spurred the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Dept. of Labor to spearhead the creation of state commissions on the status of women. By 1966, 45 states had commissions studying the condition of women within their jurisdictions, and by 1976, there were 82 local commissions, primarily in cities or highly urbanized counties.

The Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women was established by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in February 1975. Honoring the vision of the founding 300 women and women’s organizations who worked tirelessly to create the Commission, we are now in our fourth decade of providing advocacy, outreach and education.

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