By Joyce LEE
With National Women’s History Month being celebrated this month, the need for complete equality for women is being brought to light through many activist groups, such as Glendale’s Commission on the Status of Women. The commission serves to advocate for policies that support women and girls by hosting educational activities and events that help women and girls reach their full potential.
Each year, the commission commits to one specific theme to congratulate women on their ongoing path to equality. The commission’s theme for 2014 is Women of Courage and these women will be revered at the annual Jewels of Glendale luncheon on May 8 at the Oakmont Country Club. Two college scholarships will be awarded, one for a high school senior and one for a veteran. Through this main fundraising event, the commission hopes to raise enough money needed for future activities and events.
The commission dedicates its activities based on one topic chosen for the month. This is done at its monthly meetings when a speaker provides information about the topic. Each meeting is broadcast live on cable channel 6 (GTV6) and rebroadcast throughout the week. Because March is Women’s History Month, the theme for the month is historic women. Joanna Linkhorst, president of Friends of Rockhaven, was the speaker at the March 10 meeting and spoke about the founder of Rockhaven Sanitarium Agnes Richards.
In April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the commission will hold two self-defense classes on April 9 and April 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Glendale Community College Student Center and the Glendale Police community room, respectively.
The commission also partners with other organizations to sponsor events according to the month’s theme. In March, the commission worked with the Associates of the Brand Library and Arts Center to screen a documentary called “Miss Representation,” which explores how women and girls are portrayed in the media. The film will be presented on Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library. Also in conjunction with Glendale’s “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” week, the commission is co-sponsoring a panel discussion on human trafficking on April 23 at the Glendale Central Library.
The commission adds to its full slate of activities by sponsoring many other activities without the aid of other organizations. The commission sponsors “Girls on the Run” teams at GUSD schools to encourage physical fitness and self-esteem. The commission also hosts Camp Rosie during the summer for girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 18, to inform girls about financial literacy, education and career choices. The main goal is for these young women to eventually apply their knowledge in the real world in hopes of achieving self-sufficiency and financial security.
The numerous events held by the commission would not be possible without the unity of its members. There are five commissioners, each nominated by a Glendale City Council member, and two student ex-officio, or non-voting, members. The term of office for each member of the commission is four years or until his/her successor is appointed and qualified. This year, Denise Miller is the chair and Lynda Burns is the vice chair.
“A memory in which I personally witnessed the power of women’s determination is when I helped hand out medals to the ‘Girls on the Run’ finishing a 5K walk at Universal Studios,” said Sharon Weisman, the newest commissioner. “Seeing so many young women accomplishing their goals touched my heart.”