The Commission began in 1970 as a Permanent Advisory Commission on Women in Rhode Island. After 22 years as an advisory commission, in 1992 the General Assembly amended the General Laws of Rhode Island (Title 42, Chapter 119) to change its status to an agency of Rhode Island Government.
The Rhode Island Commission on Women is a 26 member commission supported by a director and a corps of volunteers. Its mission is to advance women toward full equity. A non-partisan state agency, it works to promote rights and opportunities for all women across all arenas, including - but not limited to - education, health, economic development, employment, legal rights, political participation and the quality of individual and family life. The Commission carries out its responsibilities through standing and ad hoc committees, the membership consisting of appointed commissioners and numerous volunteers dedicated to the rights of women and girls.
The major responsibilities of the Rhode Island Commission on Women is to advise and submit recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, gather and disseminate information to women and/or the general public on issues relating to women, develop and/or support programs and services for women, collaborate with concerned organizations, groups, and state departments on issues of common concerns, educate and encourage women to exercise the right to vote; encourage candidacy for public office and promote appointment of qualified women to boards, commissions, and government positions at all levels and evaluate, monitor, and propose federal and state legislation and advise legislators on issues relating to women.
Scope and Contents: The Rhode Island Commission on Women records consists of the administrative records created during the course of activities completed by the Rhode Island Commission on Women. Subjects covered include the annual Women of the Year awards, pay equity, discrimination, equal rights, welfare reform, domestic violence, child support and day care, sexual assault and reproductive choice.