Somerville, MA Women's Commission

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Somerville, MA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Initiated in 1988

Source File:


The Somerville Commission for Women was created in March 1988 by City ordinance. The SCW’s bylaws state that the Commission’s purpose is “to act as a centralizing force in the City of Somerville to ensure the equal status of women in educational, economic, political, health, legal, and social spheres including the provision of information, referrals and guidance… [and] to take any action considered appropriate by the SCW to ensure the equal status of women of every race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, national origin, ability, age and sexual orientation.” The committees are the heart of the Commission. Currently: Stopping the Violence, Public Relations, Employment and Empowerment. Commissioners serve on at least one committee.

The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognized the Commission on its 10th anniversary for 10 years of outstanding service in advocacy for women, opposition to domestic violence and working for social justice.

The People of the Commission
Commissioners are women living in Somerville who volunteer for a three-year term and are appointed by the Mayor. They work with the Executive Director, decide on activities and projects the Commission will pursue and carry out those activities through committee work.

An Executive Director appointed by the Mayor staffs the Commission. The Executive Director helps coordinates projects and events, represents the Commission on a variety of committees and task forces, and responds to inquiries from the community.

Volunteers serve on committees and provide essential assistance in organizing and staffing Commission events and activities.

Interns are recruited from local colleges and universities to assist the Executive Director and Commissioners.

The Work of the Commission
The Commission focuses on advocacy, education, and outreach in regards and on behalf of women. The Commission has special focus on anti-violence, financial literacy, empowerment, coalition building, and monitoring and supporting legislation.

The Work of the Commission's Staff, Interns, & Volunteers
The Executive Director of the SCW works part-time for the Commission and has an office within the Public Health Department. The ED supervises and co-facilitates TADA (a Somerville High School after school program called Teens Against Dating Abuse, TADA), convenes the Somerville Domestic Violence Taskforce, participates on city-wide, MA or New England committees and networks, designs and runs programs for girls, writes grants, advocates, and speaks publicly on behalf of the Commission.

All Commission meetings are open to the public.

The full Commission meets on the Third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall Annex at 50 Evergreen Avenue. The meetings are wheelchair accessible.

We welcome your questions, comments, ideas and participation. If you would like more information or want to be on our mailing list, please contact us.

The Somerville Commission for Women does not receive financial support from the City of Somerville, most of the SCW’s programs are supported by donations or fundraising. The quality of the Commission’s work and the ability of the Commission to reach out to women depend on continued support from individuals, groups and businesses. If you can donate time, money or in-kind contributions, please contact our Executive Director.