The bipartisan California Legislative Women’s Caucus (LWC) was formed in 1985 by nine Democrats and six Republicans. Today, 38 of the Legislature’s 120 members are women -- the Caucus now includes 14 Senators and 24 Assemblymembers.
According to its bylaws, the Legislative Women’s caucus “encourages collegiality, participation in and cooperation among elected women in California government to promote the interests of women, children and families through legislation.”
The LWC has just announced its Priority Bill Package for 2022. One bill requires that victims of domestic violence have access to medical evidentiary examinations by qualified health care professionals, free of charge, similar to victims of sexual assault. Other legislation would extend current CalWORKs assistance for children still in high school or fulltime vocational training to youths less than 20 years of age. Another Priority bill requires the Department of Healthcare Services to indefinitely continue telehealth flexibilities established during the pandemic. Telehealth has decreased barriers, increased access, and helped provide better outcomes for many rural Californians who sometimes must drive long distances to receive care.
We’ve come a long way since women received the right to vote in California in 1911. In 1918, the first four women were elected to the State Assembly. Perhaps surprisingly, no woman was elected to the State Senate until 1976. Today, barriers that once kept women from leadership positions have largely vanished, and women frequently serve at the highest levels in the Legislature, including my service as Minority Leader for three years.
Women bring a different perspective to the Legislature. As wives and mothers, our family’s health and well-being are priorities. The need to balance home, family, my small business and legislative duties guides me in my committees, and the bills I introduce and co-author.
To read more about the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, visit their website at: https://womenscaucus.legislature.ca.gov/