This year marks the 60th anniversary of the NC Department of Administration’s Council for Women, a body of 20 people appointed by the Governor for two-year terms. For more than half a century the Council has been an advocate for women’s rights, driving policies that promote education, safety, health, and social and economic justice for North Carolina women and families across the state.
“For six decades, the NC Council for Women has been working to advance gender equity,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We’re grateful for the strong, dedicated women leaders who are continuing this important work.”
Established in 1963, the Council serves as a liaison, providing the Governor, principal state agencies and the General Assembly with expertise on issues impacting North Carolina women from inequities in employment and earnings to disparities in health and wellness.
“The Council has a long-standing history of amplifying the voices of North Carolina women through legislation and advocacy,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “Today we not only celebrate the Council’s many successes but continue to magnify the very issues that women face across our state.”
From 2018 to 2022, the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement, a division of the Department of Administration, partnered with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research to release a series of four reports on the Status of Women in North Carolina, featuring data on employment and earnings, health and wellness, poverty and opportunity, and political participation.
During the height of the pandemic, the Council also released the COVID-19 Impact on Women in North Carolina Report, outlining the disproportionate gendered and racial toll of the pandemic on women and families across the state.
Over the course of his administration, Governor Cooper has worked to advance gender equality in North Carolina, including extending workplace protections for pregnant state employees in 2018 through Executive Order No. 82 and helping protect women’s access to reproductive health services in North Carolina in 2022 through Executive Order No. 263.
Due to recent rollbacks on women’s rights, Council for Women Chair Annette Taylor expressed the urgency and significance of the Council’s mission today.
“The significance of the Council and its purpose is just as relevant today as it was 60 years ago,” Taylor said. “Despite years of progress, women continue to face challenges including poverty, low wages, lack of access to business lending opportunities, and are underrepresented in state government among other disparities. The time is ever more important to amplify our mission and be change agents for the women and families across our state.”
First known as the Commission on the Status of Women, the 20-member board was originally formed on October 11, 1963 by Governor Terry Sanford through Executive Order 4. It was reestablished statutorily by the NC General Assembly in 1965 and was appropriated funding by the state legislature in 1972 to hire its first staff. In 1991 the board formerly known as the Commission on the Status of Women transitioned its name to the present day, Council for Women.
To learn more about the Council including upcoming meeting dates, visit the Council for Women website.
About the NC Council for Women
Established in 1963, the mission of the NC Council for Women is to advocate for and empower women, to amplify the voices of women, and to drive policies that promote education, safety, health, and social and economic justice for the women of North Carolina. The vision of the 20-member board, housed within the NC Department of Administration, is for North Carolina to be a state where women thrive economically and socially, racial and gender justice prevail, and women's quality of life ranks at the highest levels.