The Commission recognizes the importance of having initiatives that are essential to the effectiveness of offering opportunities to women in Oklahoma. The four identified initiatives - Summits, Human Trafficking, Oklahoma Women Incarcerated and The Appointments Project are designed to educate, promote, and inspire women to act.
Since 1994, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women has sought to strengthen and empower women in Oklahoma by improving their opportunities and quality of life. The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women is a strong, recognized, and respected voice for the women in Oklahoma. Through education, collaboration and celebration the commission works on issues related to women, equity, and gender bias to elevate the status of women throughout the state.
- Acts a focal point for other agencies and communities to provide resource information, expertise, and input on issues affecting women
- Reports annually to the Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding its activities and makes recommendations concerning needed legislation or regulatory changes relating to equity and gender bias
- Coordinates Community Conversations throughout the year to listen to community leaders’ concerns about the status of women in their communities
- Hosts and coordinates an Oklahoma Women’s Summit every two years to develop recommendations on specific actions
- Requests interim studies to research possible legislative action, build consensus and public support on issues
- Supports and/or endorses legislation which would benefit women and families and monitors legislation that may be discriminatory toward women
- Routinely communicates with all relevant constituencies on key issues for women
- Participates with other groups to support educating the public on issues of importance to women and families
- Maintains a strong, viable Advisory Council of leaders across the state with subject matter expertise related to women
- Honors Oklahoma legislative, executive, and judicial officials with the Guardian Award for their role in guarding, protecting, and preserving the rights of women and families
- Recognizes female elected, appointed, salaried public officials in Oklahoma for their work with the Kate Barnard Award
- Awards Oklahoma’s highest honor for women by inducting Oklahoma residents who have provided outstanding service benefitting the lives of women and families in Oklahoma, the nation, or elsewhere in the world by inducting them into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame
In 1965, during his first term, Gov. Henry Bellmon established the first Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. As part of the responsibilities of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women Gov. George Nigh established the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.
Through the efforts of Speaker of the House Glen Johnson, Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Cullison, Sen. Angela Monson, Rep. Laura Boyd, and a dedicated group of women, legislation creating the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women passed and was signed by Gov. David Walters in 1994.
The appointments are now made by the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore, and Speaker of the House and consist of 30 members appointed for five-year terms. The initial appointment terms were staggered. By statue, the terms end on June 30 of each year.