With bipartisan support and companion Senate Bill 6583, the legislature passed HB 2759 on March 5, 2018 because of the importance to achieve equal opportunity for all citizens. The legislature finds women face unique problems and needs. For economic, social, and historical reasons, a disproportionate number of women find themselves disadvantaged or isolated from the benefits of equal opportunity. The legislature believes addressing women’s issues and improving the well-being of women will have a positive impact on larger societal issues. The development of public policy and the efficient delivery of governmental services to meet the needs of women will be improved by the Women’s Commission being the focal point for the interests of women in state government.
On March 15, 2018 House Bill 2759 was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, establishing the Washington State Women’s Commission.
The Washington State Women’s Commission improves the life of every woman by ensuring equitable opportunities and removing systemic barriers through engagement, advocacy, and public policy, while being inclusive of our diverse populations.
Every woman and girl is healthy, safe, prosperous, and empowered to achieve their full potential.
The purpose of the Women’s Commission is to improve the well-being of women, by enabling them to participate fully in all fields of endeavor, assisting them in obtaining governmental services, and promoting equal compensation and fairness in employment for women. It is also the purpose of the Women’s Commission to address issues relevant to the problems and needs of women, such as domestic violence, childcare, child support, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, equal compensation and job pathways opportunities in employment, and the specific needs of women of color.
The Women’s Commission is comprised of 13 members. Nine of which are voting Commissioners appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor considers nominations for Commissioner membership based upon maintaining a balanced and diverse distribution of ethnic, geographic, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and occupational representation.
The remaining four seats are Legislators who serve as non-voting advisory members:
- Two members of the Senate, one from each of the two major political parties, appointed by the President of the Senate, and
- Two members of the House of Representatives, one from each of the two major political parties, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
All Commissioners shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor, but in no case may any member serve more than three years without formal reappointment by the governor. All Legislators shall serve for a two-year term and the position of any legislative advisory member shall be deemed vacated whenever such member ceases to be a member of the house from which the member was appointed.