The Women’s Commission will conduct research, produce reports, engage with the community, and make recommendations to Commissioners Court related to economic opportunities and health outcomes of women, of all races and ethnicities and income levels, in Harris County.
The first Harris County Women’s Commission was created in March of 2022 with 9 appointed members to help the Harris County Commissioners Court better understand and address women’s issues in our region. Our President, Marlisa Briggs, was nominated to sit on this commission by Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey. In their first meeting, the commission defined bylaws and some core areas of focus including:
- Each year, the Commission shall focus on at least one issue relating to the economic opportunities and development for women which may include: childcare infrastructure and its effect on women in the workforce, pay equity, equal access to advancement and promotion in the workplace, workplace discrimination, family friendly workplace policies and other relevant issue areas.
- Each year, the Commission shall focus on at least one issue relating to the health outcomes for women which may include: access to affordable and quality healthcare, maternal morbidity rates, menstrual policy equity, abortion access, gender-based violence, healthcare access, health insurance, and other relevant issue areas.
- The Commission shall participate in community engagement at least once each year through means such as volunteerism, conducting and publishing surveys or public reports, and/or hosting community events and town halls.
The Women’s Commission’s main goal is to foster critical dialogue and awareness of gender inequities in our community. It will increase the quality of life not only for women, but for all Harris County residents.
We have pervasive gender and racial disparities in this county, and the pandemic only increased the gaps. Nationwide, more than 2 million women lost their jobs than men. Even prior to the pandemic, women in Harris County were nearly 50% more likely than men to live in poverty. We must address these disparities head on.