For the past two years, the Milpitas City Council has worked toward creating the City’s first-ever Women’s Task Force. The idea of a Women’s Task Force in Milpitas started when the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) announced their $5 million grant program. The City of Milpitas applied for and received $25,000 to create a task force that implements the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This past April, the money was given to Milpitas at the CCSWG conference in Sacramento.
After receiving the money to implement CEDAW in the City, the Council adopted Ordinance 306, a move toward establishing the Women’s Task Force. The task force will give Milpitas the resources it needs to face issues affecting many women in the city. These include but are not limited to: domestic violence, wage gaps, and accessible childcare.
Councilmember Karina Dominguez, who is active in helping to create the Women’s Task Force, stated in an interview, “This is the first time in the City of Milpitas that we have seen policy, resources, and money put down in order to bring women’s issues in the forefront.”
The Task Force will include six community members, including one staff liaison and one City Council liaison. These liaisons will be at the forefront to address the needs of Milpitas women.
Milpitas youth have been especially active in the creation of the task force. Through Milpitas High School Clubs such as Girl UP, youth have been able to give ideas and provide feedback on what the task force should tackle. The task force will also include a youth chair, elected by the Girl UP club, to ensure that youth will be part of the change created by the task force.
Other community members have been actively involved, as well. Many members of the community, as well as some members of the council, have decided to go out to different stakeholders that can help the task force financially. Since the task force has not yet been fully established, there will be work ahead on engaging more community members and especially encouraging women and girls to apply.
The City of Milpitas has high hopes for the endeavor, with Dominguez saying, “This is a historical task force and our budget is really putting at the forefront the issues of our city,” and Mayor Rich Tran stating in a press release, “I am especially pleased that the task force will draw upon many community partners and benefit women and girls in the Milpitas community.”
For more information on the Women’s Task Force and how to get involved, please contact Milpitas City Manager Steven G. McHarris.