History of Commission

As the only state agency to exclusively focus on the needs and concerns of women and girls of all ages and backgrounds, the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls holds a noteworthy place in the history of California. 

Our Historical Efforts

Reflect the diverse and complex topics that impact women and girls in this state while chronicling the ever-changing nature of legislative actions and advocacy surrounding those issues. For the past 50 years, the Commission has been present and involved in state and national debates and social movements, advocating to better the lives of women and girls everywhere.


Course of Our History

The Commission has formed many committees including the following: Advisory, Child Care, Child Support/Custody, Community Involvement, Criminal Justice, Education, Employment, Executive, Health, Homemaker, Marital Property, and Public Information. Notable task forces include those on Minority Women, Equal Pay, and Comparable Worth. These are just a snapshot of some of the work of the Commission over time.

Commission Timeline


The California Advisory Commission on the Status of Women was established by Chapter 1378, for the purpose of developing recommendations “which will enable women to make the maximum contribution to society.” The initial recommendations of this Commission were due to the Governor by June 30,1967.


The Governor made the Commission on the Status of Women a permanent, independent agency. In addition to its existing duties, CSW was mandated to “act as an information center on the status of women’s needs” and “develop and coordinate with [those] concerned with preventing problems brought about by the changing roles of women, and [those who] develop programs to enable women to be fully contributing members of society.”


Neither the Advisory Commission nor CCSW had any distinct organizational programs until 1981, when the work of CCSW was divided into Research and Information Services, Legislative Liaison, and Administration.


Comparable Worth Task Force ended.


The Commission was briefly de-funded as part of a larger package of budget cuts during the recession. 


The Commission launched the California Pay Equity Task Force after the passing of SB 358 (Jackson) to focus on developing tools for proactive
implementation of the California Fair Pay Act, the strongest equal pay law in the nation.


The California Pay Equity Task Force ends having completed the foundation for what will become the California Pay Equity Tool Kit.


College Student Right to Access Program launched by CCSWG.


Chapter 854 (Statutes of 1967) extended the sunset date of the Commission through June 1969. It also increased the membership from 15 to 17 commissioners, with the Senate Rules Committee and the Assembly Speaker each appointing one public member.


CCSW gained appointing authority for six public members of the State Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault Victim Services when Penal Code 13836 transferred administrative responsibility for rape crisis centers from the Department of Social Services to the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning.


The Displaced Homemaker Emergency Loan Act program added to CCSW was created by law, a pilot loan program administered by CCSW until 1998 extended by Chapter 1385, Statutes of 1985, and Chapter 488, Statutes of 1995. Comparable Worth Task Force established by CCSW.


In 1999, DHELA was ended.


The Commission was reestablished with a $150,000 contribution from the Legislature in recognition of the need for CCSWG’s work.


CCSWG presented a panel discussion on the California Pay Equity Task Force at the National Association of Commissions for Women annual conference. The panel shared best practices for practical implementation of civil rights laws with 11 other state women’s commissions working toward equal pay implementation across the nation.


CCSWG position authority increases to 6, enabling the hiring of 2 new staff; published the California Pay Equity Toolkit; launched the #EqualPayCA program in partnership with the First Partner of California; SB 24 (Leyva) signed into law establishes the College Student Right to Access pilot program within CCSWG.