Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Commission on the Status of Women



February 22, 2011


March 1, 2011







Honorable Board of Supervisors



Martina Tello, President, CSW
Honora R. Miller, Director, CSW



2010 Annual Report from the Commission on the Status of Women



Accept the 2010 Commission on the Status of Women Annual Report.



Since 1982, the Commission on the Status of Women of San Mateo County has served the Board of Supervisors by keeping actively informed about the diverse needs of women in our County. The Commission identifies policies, programs and legislation to address the needs of women, girls and families and makes recommendations to the Board for consideration. The Commission also addresses women’s needs directly by helping create partnerships that ignite positive change, and by honoring the achievements of women through the annual Women’s Hall of Fame, now in its 27th year. In 2011, the Board Liaisons to the Commission are Supervisors Tissier and Groom.



In 2010, commissioners were involved in a number of activities that will be outlined briefly in this section.
Women’s Leadership Development

In 2009, the Commission was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Women’s Foundation of California through a donor-advised fund of the YWCA of the Mid-Peninsula to encourage and train women to seek appointed and elected positions with particular emphasis on outreach to women from underserved communities and women of color. This grant was extended through October 2010 and funded a high quality six-hour workshop held in March in which 11 local elected officials shared their expertise with 40 attendees on the nuts and bolts of embarking on a political campaign and included an inspiring closing keynote address by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. The grant also funded the infrastructure development of a non-partisan women’s political mentoring network that was made public at the Women’s Equality Day event in August and will be implemented in 2011 with its initial mentoring cohort. These activities complemented the two appointments trainings and a networking training that were held the previous Fall and were accomplished in collaboration with the San Mateo County Chapter of California Women Lead, which the Commission spearheaded in 2007.


Women’s Clothing Drive


During 2010, the Commission organized a successful clothing drive with County Employees for women’s work attire in October for the Career Closet, a local non-profit that assists women who are entering/re-entering the workforce with clothing and confidence-building to help them on their path to employment. Communities Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), also received some clothing to assist victims of domestic violence who are residing in their shelter. Nearly 200 County employees donated women’s work clothing, shoes and accessories.


Women’s Correctional Center


In 2010, the Commission kept abreast of the changing needs of the County’s correctional system through periodic meetings with representatives of the Sheriff’s Office and the CHOICES program. Commissioners gathered information on potential speakers willing to make presentations to the inmates at the newly opened transitional/work release program on topics including etiquette for the workplace, managing finances, dressing for the workplace and yoga. The Commission successfully connected artist Bonnie Veblen with the Women’s Correctional Center, resulting in her being contracted to provide her 7-step program, PrismaScope, to women in the transitional/work release program encouraging them to use their creative selves to develop greater awareness of their personal identity and build self-esteem.


Assessing the Status of Women


In 2010 the Commission re-conceptualized the format of the “What Do Women Want?” Speak Ups campaign, adopting a World Café model that will enable participants to discuss issues of importance and to share ideas and resources with each other.


Endorsement of 2-1-1


After hearing a common theme at Speak Up meetings held between 2006 and 2009 that women in the community seek a single point of contact to learn about county resources to meet the growing needs of their families, the Commission investigated the 2-1-1 telephone line that is being provided in surrounding counties, offered endorsement in 2009 to the United Way ‘s application to offer the service in San Mateo County, and in 2010 continued its involvement by having Commission representation on the 2-1-1 Advisory Committee and becoming trained as 2-1-1 ambassadors in order to be able to share information about this resource with their networks.




26th Annual Women’s Hall of Fame: The 26th Annual Women’s Hall of Fame was celebrated with nearly 500 attendees. The event has recognized more than 200 extraordinary women for the past 26 years and continues to be a time-honored San Mateo County tradition. Denise Aquila, Luisa Buada, Kerry Lobel, Julia McKay McKeon and Sally Stewart were inducted on March 18, 2010. The Young Woman of Excellence honored was Fiona Murphy.


Women’s Art Exhibit: During the month of March (Women’s History Month), the Commission co-sponsored with the Arts Commission a Women’s Art Exhibit in the Hall of Justice showcasing the work of local women artists and focusing on the theme, “The Female Gaze”.


Women’s Equality Day: In recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, the Commission co-sponsored a Women’s Equality Day event on August 26th with Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo attended by more than 250 people.


Plans for 2011


The Commission will be updating its strategic work plan and finalizing its 2011 goals at a May 20th retreat. Key projects and events anticipated in the upcoming year include: (1) celebration of the 27th Anniversary Women’s Hall of Fame on March 24; (2) kickoff of the non-partisan women’s political mentoring network in collaboration with the San Mateo County Chapter of California Women Lead; (3) participation in the Women’s Criminal Justice Summit along with advocacy related to the Women’s Correctional Center; (4) completion of a gender analysis of County boards and commissions; (5) Speak Ups with consumers at the Center for Independence of the Disabled, residents at Hope House and high school aged girls from Sequoia High School; and (6) getting the word out about the 2-1-1 resource line.


Acceptance of this annual report contributes to Shared Vision 2025 of a Collaborative Community by reaffirming and providing direction to the Commission on the Status of Women in support of its activities.



All activities undertaken by the Commission are covered by profits from the Women’s Hall of Fame awards banquet. Staff support is provided by the Human Resources Department.


The Commission would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for its ongoing support and encouragement.