Established in 1971, the South Carolina Commission on Women (the SCCW) has the mission and purpose to improve and promote the quality of life and the status of women in South Carolina. Under this charge, the Commission advises the Governor and the Legislature on matters related to the needs of women in South Carolina.
Committed to improving the status of all women, the SCCW has the responsibility to identify problems, define issues and recommend policies and procedures-- generally falling into one of five categories: workplace, family, society, violence and equity--in order to change practices which prevent full participation of women in society.
In an effort to fulfill our mission, the SCCW provides referral services to constituents and promotes networking and coalition building among similarly oriented groups. Finally, with the annual Woman of Achievement Award, the Commission, together with the Governor, publicly and officially recognize outstanding women who have made noteworthy achievements.
- Promote awareness of the presence and resources of the SC Commission on Women
- Advise Governor and Legislature on public policy matters concerning women
- Encourage and equip women to participate in the political process
- Educate and direct young women toward the most successful life outcomes
Why the Commission on Women is Important
South Carolina ranks 50th - last - in the nation in terms of women in public office. In the 2009/2010 Legislature, South Carolina is the only state in the nation with a single-gender chamber – the South Carolina Senate. In addition, there are only 17 women members of the South Carolina House of Representatives. To top it off – there aren’t any women in statewide elected offices for South Carolina.
Only one woman, Elizabeth Patterson (D), has ever been elected to Congress in her own right. She served in the US House of Representatives from 1987 to 1993.
Only three women in South Carolina history have been elected to statewide office: Lt. Governor Nancy Stevenson (1979-1982), Superintendent of Education Barbara Nielsen (1991-1999) and Superintendent of Education Inez Tennebaum (1999-2007).
The lack of women’s input into critical decisions for South Carolina is especially surprising when South Carolina women make up 51.3% of the state's population and 56% of the voting population.
The staggering absence of women in deciding public policy magnifies the need for a Commission that advises policy makers on issues related to the quality of life and status of women.