Welcome to the website of the Commission. We are a non-partisan body with a focus on raising awareness and celebrating the contributions and successes of all Floridians, along with providing a collaborate platform for those seeking information on issues that affect women, girls and their families in our state.
Our goal is to provide communication, promotion, and collaboration among the hundreds of organizations working in all 67 counties that are focused on the welfare of the women of Florida. We are all interested in improving the well-being of Florida women and girls – and by extension, all Floridians. In doing so, we strive to be a resource for lawmakers, businesses, and residents so they have a better understanding of these important issues.
Florida Celebrates Women’s Suffrage Centenial
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. This historic centennial offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy. The Florida 2020 Women’s Suffrage Centennial Collaborative, a non-partisan collaboration of women-centered institutions, organizations, and scholars from across Florida will work to ensure that this anniversary, and the journey to achieve it, are commemorated and celebrated throughout the state.
Visit floridasuffrage100.org to learn more.
Florida Commission on the Status of Women
Announces First Annual Women’s History Video Contest
The Florida Commission on the Status of Women seeks entries for the 2020 Women’s History Video Contest from students in grades 9-12, from March 1 – May 1, 2020. The Commission invites students to participate in order to gain a more thorough appreciation of women’s contributions throughout history, to celebrate those contributions, and to increase awareness of the contributions specifically of Florida women, past and present.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the United States Congress on June 4, 1919 and was ratified on August 18, 1920. This amendment granted the vote to women, which was considered a radical change to many Americans. Since 1980, women have voted in equal or greater number than men.
To help get out the vote and increase voter participation in the 2020 Florida elections, the FCSW invites high school students to create 30 to 60 second public service announcement videos encouraging eligible voters to register and turn out at the polls.
“As we begin 2020, we hope that this contest will inspire our high school students to learn more about the women and men who contributed to such a major turning point in our country’s history,” says FCSW Commission Chair Rita Barreto Craig. “The Florida Women’s History Video Contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation’s great history and learn about the importance of voting.”
The FCSW will widely distribute and publicize the winning videos and others from the contest as part of the 2020 Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration, a statewide commemoration of the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.
For more information on the Video Contest, please call Rebecca Lynn at 850-414-3529.
Florida Women’s Hall of Fame Celebrates
Leading Womein in 37th Induction Ceremony
The Florida Commission on the Status of Women today inducted three new members into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame at a distinguished ceremony in Orlando as a part of the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum. Celebrating its 37th anniversary, the Hall of Fame honored 2019 inductees Doris Mae Barnes, Dr. Judith Ann Bense, and Mildred “Millie” Wilborn Gildersleeve for significant contributions to the citizens of Florida.
“I’m honored to be able to recognize the accomplishments of women in Florida. These three inductees’ achievements, along with countless other trailblazing women, have laid a strong foundation for future generations to build on and continue reaching new heights,” stated Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “We are all grateful for the contributions they have made while advancing our state and making history.”
The ceremony included an evening of honor with remarks from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody; Todd Powell, Florida Chamber Foundation; Pamela Rauch, Florida Power & Light; Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber of Commerce and Commissioners from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Joined by family and friends, the Hall of Fame celebrated the inductees with commemorative videos and remarks about the legacy of accomplishments and the contributions each made to the lives of people across Florida.
Anchored with an induction ceremony led by the Commission, the inductees received replicas of the plaques to be placed on the Hall of Fame wall in the Florida Capitol Rotunda, as well as an American flag that flew over the United States Capitol in the inductees’ honor.
“The Florida Commission on the Status of Women, in the true spirit of celebration, is proud to honor these outstanding women who have had such a meaningful impact on our state and its history,” said Commission Chair Lady Dhyana Ziegler, Ph.D., DCJ. “This year marks the thirty-seventh year of the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and the Commission is proud to ensure that the stories of Florida women will be shared for future generations.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis selected the new Hall of Fame members from a group of 10 nominees chosen by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Since its inception in 1982, the Hall of Fame has recognized and honored Florida women that made significant contributions to the improvement of life for all state citizens. Some of the notable inductees include former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, singer Gloria Estefan, internationally-honored tennis athletes Chris Evert and Althea Gibson, pilot Betty Skelton Frankman, Bethune-Cookman College founder Mary McLeod Bethune, Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carrie Meek, Tillie Fowler and Ruth Bryan Owen; Florida Trend Publisher Lynda Keever, and Everglades advocate and suffragist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
“Being selected to enter the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame is an honor and privilege,” said Dr. Judy Bense, President-Emeritus and Professor of Anthropology/Archaeology at the University of West Florida. “I have been asked to join a very special group of incredibly accomplished women who exemplify the very highest of achievements. As an archaeologist, I have discovered and shared Florida’s rich heritage my entire career at the University of West Florida where I had the privilege of being President. As a native of the panhandle, this honor is especially meaningful.”
For the third consecutive year, the Hall of Fame ceremony became part of the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum. The centralized location and expanded celebration presented a great opportunity to recognize the many ways women’s history is woven into the fabric of Florida and the United States in a more meaningful way.
“The legacy of the 2019 Women’s Hall of Fame inductees have inspired others to dream more, learn more and do more, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce proudly solutes their leadership and lifetime of accomplishments,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s inductees join current members on the walls of the Florida Capitol. Visitors can view all the Hall of Fame members immortalized on plaques in the Capitol Rotunda or on the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame website by visiting FLWomensHallOfFame.org.