Women's Commission

History of the Commission

In 1984, the Delaware County Council resolved to create a task force to study the situation of women and girls in the county and develop recommendations to address issues of concern. The Task Force on Women and Girls labored for more than a year, and their report, Women and Girls in Delaware County: Looking at the Present, Planning for the Future, led to a series of corrective measures and changes within the county government. Not least of these were the recommendations to establish a women’s information center and an ongoing women’s advisory group. As a result, the County Council established the Delaware County Women’s Commission in October of 1985, to continue the work of the Task Force on Women and Girls, and serve as advocates for the women of Delaware County. The Commission took this charge to heart, and from that point forward, labored to improve the quality of life within the County, not only for women, but for those who depend on them as well. To acknowledge the contributions of women throughout history, beginning in 1986, County Council took the Commission’s suggestion to officially recognize March as Women’s History Month. In 1987, they crafted a report on child support enforcement in the county, which implemented wide-ranging changes that made Delaware County a nationwide model for support enforcement. The DCWC initiated a study of adolescent pregnancy in 1989. A countywide conference brought together educators, health professionals, human service providers, clergy, and community leaders to explore issues faced by pregnant and parenting teens. This dialogue led to the establishment of a task force charged with researching various aspects of these issues specific to Delaware County. The Adolescent Pregnancy Task Force Report of 1992 proved to be of interest to the broad community and served as a valuable resource to service providers. Over the next few years, the Commission focused on the development of women-owned businesses in the county and support of female entrepreneurs.

In 1995, to commemorate their 10-year anniversary, the DCWC published a Historical Review, covering the major accomplishments of their first 10 years in existence. We have provided this document in .pdf form for those who wish to take a closer look at the early successes that defined the Women’s Commission as a body. 

Since then, the Commission’s focus has primarily been on major projects. Intending to provide a deeper insight into women’s health issues, the Commission published A Guide to Understanding Women’s Health Issues in 1996. The findings from our 1998 Violence Against Women report led to significant changes in data collection and classification of domestic violence cases. It served as a catalyst for change in the way that the criminal justice and the health and social service systems respond. Stemming from that project, a second related project focusing on Violence Against Women with Disabilities received two years’ worth of research funding from Women’s Way. In a subsequent collaboration with Speaking For Ourselves, a support organization for the disables, a national grant was awarded by the Ms. Foundation to support the work of a joint task force. This report is available to the public on this website. Hard copies will be available at local libraries and by request from the DCWC office.

In conjunction with the Friends of the DCWC, we are continuing our series of community education forums. With the support of the Friends, the Center Foundation, and Project ELECT, and financial support from Women’s Way, the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, and ConocoPhillips, the DCWC plugged a serious information gap with the production of the Women’s Resource Guide, a listing of dozens of organizations within the community that offer assistance to women in need. This guide is one of our most widely distributed, as roughly 20 to 30 thousand are sent out to public facilities, community organizations, and state officials, who then distribute them to those in need of the services referenced in the guide.

The Commission utilizes interns over the summer and during the spring and fall semesters. Internships with the Commission may be paid, or if held during the school year, may be for college credit with the approval of the student’s school. Those interested in serving with the Commission may contact Herb Lockyer in the Delaware County Personnel Department at (610) 891-4852 for more information. Delaware County is an equal-opportunity employer.