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Our History

40+ Years on the Front Line in the Fight for Women's Equality

The Women’s Commission was established by Tucson City Council ordinance on December 8, 1975, after a year of work by a coalition of community women. Its mandate was to “expose, eliminate and prevent discrimination against women and to assist women in attaining full equality of opportunity in all aspects of life.” The first meeting as a commission was held in the  spring of 1976. In 1992, the City of Tucson and Pima County expanded the Women’s Commission to become a joint city/county commission.


The Women’s Commission is specifically empowered to represent the rights and needs of the women of Tucson and Pima County, to investigate women’s issues, to conduct hearings, to compile reports, and to make recommendations to the mayor and City Council and to the Pima County Board of Supervisors. The Women’s Commission is established as an official agency to promote equal opportunity in all aspects of life. More than 200 women and men of diverse backgrounds have served as commissioners since the inception of the Women’s Commission.


Accomplishments Include:

  • Supported the birth of the Black Women’s Task Force

  • Publication of a Sourcebook on Sexual Assault

  • Formation of Association of Women in the Trades, with an apprenticeship focus

  • Formation of Affiliation of Native American Women

  • Held public hearings, public forums, and created reports on issues affecting women, including health care availability, reproductive health rights, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, sexism in the media, sex equity in employment and training, displaced homemakers, daycare funding, gender politics, reproductive rights, job search skills, comparable worth, sexual harassment, maternity leave, sexual assault, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and age discrimination

  • Held Women’s Equality Celebrations on the anniversary of women getting the right to vote

  • Publication of the Clarion newspaper

  • Affirmative action skills training program for minority women

  • Educational series on Women in History

  • Native American Leadership Program

  • Provided office space to Wingspan in its early days

  • Created directory of women-owned businesses

  • Youth Commissioner Leadership Development

  • Provided seed money for Tucson Women’s Foundation

  • Developed programs for incarcerated women

  • Operated many task forces that focused on problems such as violence against women, women and poverty, older women’s needs, women and the workforce, leadership training, lesbian issues, civil rights, immigrant rights

  • Secured gift of Historic Royal Johnson House from City of Tucson as a permanent home for the commission

  • Skills for Women Program

  • Publication of Domestic Violence Survivor’s Guide

  • Pay Equity Initiative, Pay Equity Business Awards, Annual Equal Pay Day Luncheon

  • Positive Aging for Women Conferences

  • Speak Out Conferences for Young Women

The Women's Commission advocates for women on personal, organizational, and policy levels through community awareness and social action. We invite you to join with us in this work to eliminate discrimination toward women and improve the status of women in our community now and for generations to come!

Girls Making Media created this piece describing the history of the Women's Commission. Girls Making Media is funded by the American Association of University Women, WomanKraft, and Earth Web Media.

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