The Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women (Friends) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 1976. We raise awareness and funding for activities and initiatives that support the mission of the Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) and are not funded by the City.

Our Mission Statement

Inspiring an Equal Future: To lead change so that women and girls have equal opportunity and are free from violence

What we do
The Friends support programs that ensure equal treatment of women and girls, especially initiatives that foster their socioeconomic, political and educational advancement through policies, legislation and programs with a focus for women and girls in need. To join the Friends and help advance our mission as one of our Special Friends, go to http:/www.friendscosw.org/join

Our activities include:

  • CEDAW Women's Human Rights Awards (September/October) - the Friends awards program is its signature fundraiser honoring women, men and organizations who embody the principles of the United Nations Articles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The CEDAW is the international human rights treaty that provides a universal definition of discrimination against women and brings attention to a whole range of issues concerning women's human rights. 
  • Conversations with Exceptional Women - exchange of ideas in a variety of formats with exceptional women from diverse areas of expertise on trending issues and topics that affect women and girls. Events have included:
  • Women in City Leadership Luncheon Honoring Police Chief Heather Fong
  • Conversation with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova with Noosheen Hashemi
  • The Future of Women and Work!
  • When She Speaks: "You've Come A Long Way, Baby!"
  • Supporting the 2011 APEC Women and the Economy Summit convened by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:
    • Women. Create. Change. - A Discussion, Reception, and Film Screening of “Miss Representation”
    • Join the Dialogue: Women & the Economy Summit - Live Simulcast of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Keynote Address
    • Luncheon with the White House Council on Women and Girls
  • "100 Girls Who One Day Will Influence the world" - A Tea & Conversation with San Francisco First Lady Anita Lee and Noosheen Hashemi, President and co-Founder, The HAND Foundation (May) - roundtable conversations with girls, 9-12 years old (the Tweens!) sharing their dreams, developing their sense on topics about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), leadership, communications skills, tea etiquette and money management.
  • In collaboration with the Commission and Department on the Status of Women (C/DOSW):
  • Women's History Month Celebration (annually in March) in collaboration with the Mayor, San Francisco District Attorney and the Board of Supervisors honoring outstanding women in the City and the supervisorial districts.
  • Gender Equality Principles Initiative (GEP) - DOSW has teamed up with Calvert Asset Management and Verité to create the Gender Equality Principles to provide private sector entities with the tools they need to create gender equitable workplaces.
  • The Friends officially launched the GEP in 2010 - the groundbreaking assessment program that helps organizations achieve gender equality through implementation of the 7 Gender Equality Principles.
  • Co-hosted various Roundtables -
    • How to Comply with the New Anti-Human Trafficking Law
    • Gender and Generations
    • Trafficking, Supply Chains & Gender
    • Gender Equality Challenge: Building a 21st Century Workplace
  • San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (SFCAHT) - an organization with the support of the Mayor's Office with membership of over 30 agencies representing nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, service providers, educators, and community members.

    SFCAHT takes a zero tolerance stance on exploitation, violence, and human trafficking and building a strong group of anti-trafficking advocates and experts in San Francisco.
    • The Friends seeded the first Child Sex Trafficking Conference in 2013 that featured best practices, latest legislation and strategies for agencies and the community to better coordinate anti-trafficking efforts.

    • The Friends also supports the annual Human Trafficking Poster Contest

About the Commission and Department on the Status of Women (C/DOSW)

The Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) was established by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1975 after years of advocacy on the part of the San Francisco women's community. In 1994, the voters of San Francisco approved Proposition E, which created a permanent City Department on the Status of Women to carry out the policies of the Commission.

The COSW promotes equitable treatment and fosters the advancement of women and girls throughout San Francisco through policies, legislation, and programs, both within City and County government and in the private sector, that focus on populations in need.

The COSW has seven commissioners appointed by the Mayor of San Francisco. The COSW has oversight responsibilities of the Department on the Status of Women (DOSW).

Who serves on the Friends Board?

Members of the Friends Board of Directors are volunteers, elected to two-year terms. Current membership includes women from the fields of human resources, management consulting, finance, non-profit, communications, public relations, energy, technology, and the arts. Meet the current Board of Directors.

What can I do as a member or volunteer for the Friends?

The Friends of the Commission needs members with varied skills and high energy to lead or support its effort to organize fundraising events, cultivate donors, and promote public awareness through the media and other public forums. Skills in organization, management, public relations, non-profit fundraising, business, and leadership are helpful. Through participation as a member or serving on the Board, you may:
  • Chair one of the Friends events to benefit women and girls.
  • Develop materials for fundraising events.
  • Develop sponsorship relationships with businesses and organizations in alignment with the Friends mission and objectives.
  • Design publicity materials.
  • Meet with corporate and foundation representatives to represent the Friends initiatives and activities.
  • Attend Commission on the Status of Women meetings to represent the Friends.
  • Participate in C/DOSW events designed to represent the Friends.
  • Develop board memberships.
  • Recruit new Friends.
  • Work with a variety of people involved in the Friends Board, the C/DOSW, and a variety of organizations advocating for women politically, socially and economically.

How will participating with the Friends benefit me?

Participating as a member will provide an opportunity for you to gain or share your experience in leadership, fundraising, organization, or community outreach in service of advocacy efforts that improve the status or rights of women.

The Friends operate as a team and work collaboratively to support causes that will have a direct impact on increasing the equitable treatment of women and girls.

Your participation will increase your knowledge and understanding of issues, events, and legislation impacting the liberties or rights of women, and help the Commission and Department reach more women and support more community based organizations advocating on behalf of women who would otherwise not be heard.

To join the Friends and help advance our mission as one of our Special Friends, go to http:/www.friendscosw.org/join


Copyright 2011-2017 Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women
P.O. Box 191482 • San Francisco, California 94119 • 415.779.6636 • womensf@friendscosw.org • Tax ID #51-0183349