Register Now for the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit

Register now for the for 2015 Women’s Policy Summit: Advancing Women’s Health, Wealth & Power, to be held on Wednesday, January 14, at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Click here for direct links to:
Register for the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit.
Download the agenda for the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit (which includes a mail- or fax-in registration form).

Click here to apply for a Summit scholarship.

Click here for information about Pathways to Policy (P2P).

What is the Women’s Policy Summit?

The Women’s Policy Summit is a major policy forum held in California’s Capital to help launch the legislative session with proposals to advance the health, wealth and power of women and girls in all of their diverse communities.

Highlights from the 2015 Summit
The 2015 Women’s Policy Summit will be long on vision, action proposals and some of the best networking opportunities in the state with people who want to get things done!

Plenaries for 2015 include: Women, Poverty, and Economic Empowerment; Women, Working Families and the Workplace; Women’s and Girls’ Health; and Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls.

At the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit, we’ll also be working with partners in the Work and Family Coalition to launch a Paid Family Leave Awareness Campaign. And California’s Office of Health Equity will release a new Chart Book of statistics on women’s and girls’ health, rich with data from all of our state’s diverse communities.

Speaker Toni G. Atkins is Summit Keynote
We are proud to announce that our luncheon keynote speaker is recently elected Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins.
You won’t want to miss her speech: Keeping the California Dream Alive for Women and Working Families.

Register now!

The Women’s Policy Summit is co-sponsored by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus; the Latino, Black, API, and LGBT Legislative Caucuses; and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls — along with more than 60 nonprofit organizations.

Special thanks to The California Wellness Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and The California Endowment for their support of the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit.

A limited number of scholarships are available for the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit. Please click here to complete the application for a Summit scholarship.

Registration for Legislative Members and Staff

Members of the Legislature can support our work by registering at – or receive a complimentary ticket by registering at

Legislative Staff can receive complimentary registration for the Summit General Sessions by registering at:

To attend the Summit Luncheon, legislative staff will need to purchase a ticket or apply for a scholarship.   Click here to register for the 2015 Women’s Policy Summit Luncheon.   Click here to apply for a Summit scholarship.

For Additional Information
Questions? Please contact

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Waiting…and hoping Governor Brown will sign AB 1517

A broad coalition of public safety and women’s organizations is waiting to see if Governor Jerry Brown will sign AB 1517, ground-breaking legislation that would establish timelines for law enforcement to forward rape kits to labs and for labs to process rape kits and enter DNA profile information into the Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS.

This legislation received unanimous, bi-partisan support on the floors of both the State Assembly and State Senate.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, author of AB 1517, authored this op-ed piece in the Contra Costa Times, published on Saturday, September 20:

Gov. Jerry Brown can put California at the national forefront of efforts to prioritize testing sexual assault evidence, getting DNA from so-called “rape kits” into a national database rather than languishing in law enforcement evidence rooms.

When a survivor of sexual assault agrees to undergo a forensic exam, his or her body is the crime scene. It is painstakingly examined in a process that can take six hours or more and results in collection of evidence that is commonly referred to as a “rape kit.”

Although any survivor would reasonably expect a rape kit to be analyzed and the DNA extracted for timely entry into the CODIS national database, reality has proved disappointing: 17,000 untested kits discovered by New York City; 12,000 in Los Angeles County; thousands more in Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, and Memphis.  Read more.

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Action Alert: Encourage Governor Brown to Sign SB 1349!

You can make a difference by showing your support — and it will take just a minute or two.

Click here to send an email directly to Governor Brown.

Or you can call the Governor’s Office at 916-445-2841 to voice your support.

Here’s the message we sent in by email:

Title IX has been the law of the land for over 40 years — but laws on the books do not guarantee implementation.

SB 1349, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and supported by the California Title IX Coalition, would take a simple yet profound step to require schools to post on their websites information on athletic participation, broken down by gender.

Schools are already required to collect this information — and making it visible and accessible to parents, students and members of the community will help build awareness for the need, in many cases, to step-up implementation efforts.

It’s the year 2014 — and parents and educators want to ensure equitable resources and opportunities for their daughters.

SB 1349 is a practical and almost no-cost means to empower local leaders to meet their legal responsibilities to implement Title IX.

Ask the Governor to support SB 1349 by clicking here.

Interested in additional information?

Check out the letters and links available through two of our CA Title IX Coalition partners.

AAUW California
Offers a zip-code based draft letter to send by email.

Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
Includes bill info., sample letter, and Gov. Brown contact information.

SB 1349 is supported by the California Title IX Coalition, convened by CCRWF.

AAUW of California
California Center for Research on Women and Families
California Women’s Law Center
Equal Rights Advocates
Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center

Act now to support SB 1349!

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Major Momentum in Legislature to Reduce Backlog of Untested Rape Kits

Before the close of the legislative session on August 31, the fate of many bills will be decided, including several high-profile bills showcased at the 2014 Women’s Policy Summit.

Here is the first of several Summit updates.

AB 1517 Would Reduce Backlog of Untested Rape Kits
January’s Summit featured high-powered panelists who profiled legislation (AB 1517) to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits. Authored by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, this bill passed the Assembly with bipartisan support and will  be heard next on August 4 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1517 is sponsored by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA),  Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and Natasha’s Justice Project — all presenters at the Summit along with Assembly Member Skinner.

AB 1517 amends the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights to provide specific timelines for law enforcement to forward rape kits to labs and for labs to process rape kits and enter DNA profile information into the Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS.  AB 1517 also requires a law enforcement agency to notify a rape victim when a rape kit has not been tested and the statute of limitations (the time period for filing criminal charges in the case) is about to expire.

Across the nation, local and state jurisdictions are moving to reduce their backlogs of untested rape kits, often finding DNA matches which help bring perpetrators to justice.

Interested in additional background on this critical issue?  Check out an article by Susan Rose, former member of the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors and active with Human Rights Watch.

Also be sure to check back here at the CCRWF website for future updates.

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CCRWF Partners to Move Women’s Health Agendas Forward

For the past two years, primarily due to support from The California Wellness Foundation, we’ve had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of women — our Women’s Health Advisory Committee.  Our major initiatives have focused on developing recommendations to promote women’s health at our 2013 and 2014 Women’s Policy Summits.  We’ve also worked to encourage the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health to have a more visible and strategic focus on the health of women and girls.

In writing a grant proposal this week, we had the opportunity to pull together a list of our work on women’s health — which turned out to be a valuable retrospective.  Who would have guessed that writing a grant proposal would lead to a moment of deep appreciation for our funders and partners?

Here’s a summary of our work with our amazing partners to move women’s health agendas forward:

In 2013, we:

  • worked with two dozen women’s health advocates to conduct a survey and then develop and release recommendations to help the newly created Office of Health Equity (OHE) use a gender lens in its research, policy, practice, and projects;
  • organized the opening plenary at the 2013 Women’s Policy Summit to focus on women and health care reform, which included recommendations about using a gender lens at OHE;
  • regularly convened the Women’s Health Advisory Committee, comprised primarily of members of the group that formerly advised the California Office of Women’s Health;
  • hosted a Retreat for the Women’s Health Advisory Committee;
  • organized a meeting of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee and the director of the California Department of Public Health and his deputies that work with the Office of Health Equity;
  • conducted education and outreach calling for “gender” to be included in the list of variables that Medi-Cal Managed Care plans would need to assess for quality assurance (AB 411); and
  • sustained ongoing dialogue with OHE for inclusion of women’s health-related priorities.

Following the 2013 Summit and in the first half of 2014, we have:

  • continued to convene and support our Women’s Health Advisory Committee to advocate for OHE to include a stronger focus on women’s and girls’ health;
  • worked with a broad array of women’s health leaders to develop best practice materials to help communities reach out to women’s health and social service networks to ensure that women and their families are enrolled in expanded Medi-Cal or Covered California;
  • organized a plenary session at the 2014 Women’s Policy Summit to release and present these health care reform materials;
  • used these materials to launch a partnership with leaders in one of California’s poorest counties to pilot a women-centered approach to the implementation of health care reform;
  • facilitated dialogue on the need to add a focus on women and girls in the important work on health disparities in California, and organized a panel at the 2014 Women’s Policy Summit to provide a platform for leaders to present perspectives and next steps;
  • to increase opportunities for girls and young women to increase their physical activity, launched the California Title IX Coalition to design and implement a new, collaborative approach to assessing compliance with this ground-breaking federal law (companion legislation has also been introduced and a legislative informational hearing is planned);
  • produced, with partners, a short film that documents for the first time the advocacy history of reproductive health services in California (we have a draft “in the can” but have decided to do extra filming!);
  • convened partners through the Women’s Policy Summit to renew attention to the backlog of rape kits in California (a major piece of legislation is now moving forward, designated by the Legislative Women’s Caucus as a top priority); and
  • organized an effort to educate policymakers about the need for designated OHE staff funded through the state budget, comparable to the state support provided for initiatives like Health in All Policies.

Talk about the power of partnership!!  Thank you for incredible focus, perseverance and commitment.


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How to Build Women’s Political Power

CCRWF Executive Director Kate Karpilow moderated the 2014 Women’s Policy Summit closing general session — Building Political Power: What are we doing . . . and what else needs to happen to achieve equity?  She presented statistics documenting the decline of women’s representation in the State Legislature, summarized in the column below.

We need to do more to elect women to public office in California – but what, specifically, should we do? At the 2014 Women’s Policy Summit, we invited leaders in the field to put forth bold ideas.

Please take a few minutes to read the thought-provoking columns below – from Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, Emerge California Executive Director Kimberly Ellis, and close the gap CA Director Betsy Cotton. Their proposals are strategic and provocative, and will undoubtedly launch a much-needed debate.

If you have any doubt that a call to action is necessary, consider the following red flag statisticsevidence of a dramatic decline over the past decade in the number of elected women in California’s state legislature.

#1 California State Legislature
Overall, the total number of women in the State Senate and Assembly decreased from 2003 to 2013 from 36 to 32, out of a total of 120 seats.

#2 State Assembly
Since 2003, the number of women in the 80-member State Assembly decreased from 25 to 20 (down from 21 at the beginning of 2013). Democratic women decreased in the Assembly from 20 to 13, while Republican women increased from 5 to 7.

#3 State Senate
Since 2003, the number of Democratic women in the 40-member State Senate decreased by 1 – from 11 of 11 women members a decade ago to 10 of 12 currently (up from 8 of 10 earlier in 2013).

#4 Women of Color in the California Legislature
The percentage of women of color decreased from 44% of women legislators in 2003 to 34% (at the close of 2013, based on Caucus membership).

Women in the LGBT Caucus decreased from 4 to 3. Continue reading

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