Commission for Women
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Eleanor Roosevelt was the chair and Esther Peterson of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau was vice-chair.
Its 1963 landmark report recommended that each state form a similar commission. Today there are approximately 270 state, county and local commissions for women located in the United States and its territories.
These commissions are advocates for equality and justice for women and serve their communities in a variety of ways depending on the resources available. Many maintain shelters for the abused, others have tutorial programs for teens and illiterate adults, testify before their legislators on issues that impact women and their families, and disseminate information to their constituency.
Each commission functions independently, responding to the needs of its particular community and reporting to its own local government.
The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, established in 1971, is one of the first women’s commissions in Florida. There are several other women’s commissions in Florida at the local and state level. Most of these women’s commissions are members of the National Association of Commissions for Women, based in Washington, DC.
MissionThe Commission for Women is an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners, the County Administration and the public at large about issues pertaining to the status of women. The Commission for Women also advocates for the women in the community and strives to improve their quality of life.
Bylaws and Founding OrdinanceThe bylaws and founding ordinance for the Commission for Women can be found below.
Agendas and Minutes
Commission for Women Board meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, except August and December, at 5:30 p.m. in the 6th Floor Conference Room of the Stephen P. Clark Center.
- Sharon Kendrick-Johnson, Chair
- Monica Interian, First Vice Chair
- Linda Robinson, Second Vice Chair
- Marie Soeurette Eloi, Member at Large
- Raisa Sequeira, Member at Large
- Marie Paule Woodson, Immediate Past Chair
- Lourdes Reyes Abadin
- Clora Adkins
- Christine A. Butler, J.D.
- Gail Epstein
- Daniela Jean
- Michelle LaPiana
- Tara Leighton
- Rose Martin
- Daneila McVea-Smith
- Beverly Nixon
- Diana Palacios
- Elizabeth Simonhoff Perez
- Sonia Perez, Esq.
- Kamila Przytula
- Maria Santamaria
- Phyllis Sloan-Simpkins
- Gladys Perez Villanueva, Esq.
- Sarah I. Zabel, Esq.
The Commission for Women has several committees that are reflective of the issues and concerns of its constituents. These committees are:
- Executive Committee
- Events and Fundraising Committee
- Economic Empowerment Committee
- Legislative Commitee
- Commission Goals/Bylaws Committee
- Communications Committee
- Violence Against Women and Girls Committee
- CEDAW Committee
- Elderly Empowerment Committee
The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women (CFW), one of the first women’s commissions in Florida, is proud to be among the 270 state, county and local commissions for women located in the United States and its territories.
We serve as an Advisory Board to the Board of County Commissioners and the County Administration with respect to all matters affecting the status of women. Our members are appointed by the County Commissioners from all districts, and we are a diverse group of women representing the many cultures and ethnic backgrounds that make up Miami-Dade County. I am pleased to be the second Black American to serve as Chair since the CFW’s founding in 1971. My immediate predecessor was our first Haitian American Chair.
Women and girls make up half the world’s population. Yet far too often, our voices and experiences go unheard or unheeded. We are underrepresented in the halls of political and economic power and overrepresented in poverty. Barriers, from gender-based violence to laws that hold women to a different standard, block the path to progress, and the low-status of women and girls has vast political, economic, and social implications.
The CFW, through the collaboration with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, takes a stern stance in alignment with the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). By enacting this ordinance, Miami-Dade County commits to being proactive about improving the status of women in our community and advancing policies and programs that promote gender equity. We further advocate for expanding paid parental leave and collaborate with the League of Women Voters to commemorate Women’s Equality Day at The Women’s Park. The CFW is looking forward to working with the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade and other local organizations to plan for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2020. Each year during Women’s History Month in the County Building, the CFW ensures an elegant display of women, past and present, who have gone beyond the call of duty in advocating for women’s rights.
The CFW also co-sponsors the “In the Company of Women Awards” with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, an event that recognizes outstanding accomplishments of women in our community in various professional categories. A new component has been added to include a millennial. In the wake of the “Me Too Movement”, we stood in solidarity with them and represented ourselves by wearing black at the most recent “In The Company of Women Awards”. Through the “Young Woman Achiever” scholarship program, we have recognized several seniors graduating from the Young Women’s Preparatory Academy. The CFW has also worked tirelessly to ensure that bathroom signs with domestic violence/sexual assault and other hotline numbers are placed in County buildings and elsewhere to increase visibility for victims.
Other projects in which the CFW has participated are the Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Program, holiday gift drives, and “The Envelope Please” initiative, in which an envelope is placed in hotel rooms for tips for hospitality workers. And the CFW continues to work to change the mindset of people’s lack of understanding of how severe the problem of Human Trafficking is and how to recognize it in our schools and neighborhoods.
We could not move forward without the support of the Board of County Commissioners. We are always grateful for our Executive Director, Laura Morilla, who is always at hand. And lastly, thanks to all the unsung heroes who make these efforts possible and to our founder Roxcy Bolton, who advocated for our creation to give women’s issues a voice and a forum.
I look forward to serving as the Chair to bring more innovative ideas to the forefront such as age discrimination and the needs of elder women. I encourage others to step forward with their challenges and assist the CFW in inspiring women to take a stand on issues affecting them. Our work is not done!
Yours in Service,
Sharon Kendrick-Johnson, ABD
Policy and Programs
The Status of Women in Miami-Dade County and CEDAW
On September 1, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners enacted Ordinance #15-87, the "CEDAW" ordinance. In the CEDAW ordinance, Miami-Dade County adopted the spirit and principles of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the international women's rights treaty. By enacting this ordinance, Miami-Dade County commits to being proactive about improving the status of women in our community and advancing policies and programs that promote gender equity. In connection with this ordinance, the Commission Auditor and the FIU Metropolitan Center prepared the Status of Women in Miami-Dade County 2016 report and the Commission for Women prepared Recommendations.
Equal Pay Miami-Dade Initiative
The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women is proud to partner with The Women's Fund Miami-Dade on its Equal Pay Miami-Dade initiative, a campaign to encourage the private sector to close the wage gap between men and women. Learn more about the Equal Pay Miami-Dade.
In the Company of Women Awards
The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women is a co-sponsor of the annual "In the Company of Women" awards, which recognizes outstanding women for their professional achievements, volunteerism, and contributions to the community. Learn more about the annual awards.
Julia Tuttle Statue
The Miami-Dade Commission for Women was pleased to collaborate on the creation of the historic Julia Tuttle statue, unveiled on July 28, 2010, in downtown Miami's Bayfront Park. Known as the "Mother of Miami," Julia S. Tuttle is recognized as the only woman founder of a major American city. The statue is located at the southern end of Bayfront Park, next to the playground. The statue is a 10 foot bronze with scenes that are typical of Miami in 1896, the year of its founding, depicted on Julia's skirt.
Recognition of Women's History
The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women supported the initiative to replace one of Florida's two statues currently in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol with a new statue of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Mary McLeod Bethune was eventually selected for the replacement statue by the Florida Legislature in 2018. The Commission for Women is also working to increase the number of Florida Historical Markers that recognize women and women’s accomplishments in Miami-Dade County. Some of the women that will be recognized include Amelia Earhart, Julia Tuttle, Eleanor Galt Simmons, Marion Manley, and Barbara Baer Capitman.
The following offices and agencies provide assistance and services that are especially useful for women:
To file a claim for sex discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and financing practices, family leave, and domestic violence leave contact the Commission on Human Rights.
The Miami-Dade County Department of Community Action and Human Services, provides a myriad of social services. Catalyst Miami also provides assistance and information for low to moderate income women and the YWCA in Miami also provides services and programs to women and children. In South Miami-Dade, MUJER, Inc. provides services and assistance to low income women, including migrant workers.
For free legal services for low income women, contact Legal Services of Greater Miami. The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center assists immigrants and asylum seekers with their immigration cases and has a special unit to help immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence and who have immigration issues.
For homeless assistance, contact the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. The Homeless Assistance hotline is 1-877-994-4357.
For help finding a job, contact South Florida Workforce.domestic violence survivors.
Status of Women Annual Reports
The Office of Community Advocacy is looking for volunteers to serve as liaison between the Advisory Boards and the Miami-Dade County community at large.
All volunteer members must be permanent residents of Miami-Dade County. In addition, members should have demonstrated an interest in the field, activity or sphere covered by the board.
The primary consideration in appointing volunteer members is to provide the board with the needed technical, professional, financial, business or administrative expertise.
Please note: all volunteers must pass a background check, provided by Miami-Dade County.
For more information, please read the Standards for Creation and Review of Boards Generally.
Duties & Responsibilities:
To serve as an advisory capacity to the community and Miami-Dade County, in respect to all matters pertaining to the status of women, including but not limited to discrimination against women, employment of women, education of women, establishment of day care centers in the community, and attitudes towards women in the community, and to make periodic reports and recommendations to these bodies in respect of such matters.
To serve as a medium for responsible persons to utilize and consult with in attempting to understand and solve the many complex problems involved with dealing with the status of women.
To make findings and recommendations to the County Commission and the County administration regarding such matters as are presented to the Commission.
For more information, please read the Commission for Women Advisory Board Code of Ordinance.
The office of Community Advocacy is looking for volunteers to serve as liaison between the Advisory Boards and the Miami-Dade County community at large.
ResourcesInside the Connections Directory you will find a directory of Women's Organizations and Programs.
- Aqua Foundation for Women
- Dress for Success Miami
- The Junior League of Miami
- League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade
- Woman's Club of Coconut Grove
- Women's Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade
- Women's Fund Miami-Dade
- YWCA Greater Miami-Dade
- Broward County Commission on the Status of Women
- California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
- Florida Commission on the Status of Women
- Georgia Commission on Women
- Maryland Commission on the Status of Women
- Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women
- New York City Commission on Gender Equity
- San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women
- Seattle Women's Commission
- American Association of University Women (AAUW)
- The Feminist Majority
- Institute for Women's Policy Research
- League of Women Voters
- Ms. Magazine
- National Organization for Women (NOW)
- National Women's Law Center
- National Women's Political Caucus
- National Women's Hall of Fame
- National Women's History Alliance
- National Women's History Museum
- Women in Military Service for America Memorial
- Women's Sports Foundation
- Aqua Foundation for Women