Nancy Rock, CAWA Policy Chair on Power Sharing and Institutional Mechanisms


see also Institutional Mechanisims 2005


Chair: Patti Chang Task Force
Recorder: Orli Van Mourik
Draft Compiler: Betsy Vegso



“We acknowledge the fundamental right and responsibility of women to participate at all levels of decision making at all levels and spheres of society. We will work to improve women’s social, economic, and political status by seeking equal power in all areas of our lives. We will take action within our families, our communities, and our government against attitudinal and structural barriers that limit women’s participation in decision making. We will demonstrate power-sharing ideals by empowering those that are underrepresented and by working in partnership rather than through domination. We recognize that women’s leadership in using consensus-based, inclusive decision-making processes is essential for the development of a peaceful and sustainable future.”




The Power and Decision Making Task Force of CAWA is committed to the issues identified in the Platform for Action accepted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Two strategic objectives were identified:

Strategic Objective G.1. Take measures to ensure women’s equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision making.
Strategic Objective G.2. Increase women’s capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership.

Three areas are targeted for achieving these objectives in California. These are:

Family: Recognizing that attitudes toward women and girls are likely to be formed at a young age, within the home, attention must be paid to the family environment as a locus of power and decision-making issues. Additionally, the likelihood that women be primarily responsible for homemaking and childrearing requires that their voice be heard on related issues.
Community: While we recognize that a new model for power sharing within our communities is embryonic, we are committed to building communities that enact the values of partnership. Central to this is the formation of coalitions within and between communities that will serve as bases for future growth.
Government: The local, state, and national government and its agencies has particular responsibilities for promoting democratic processes that provide for all citizens. Likewise we have, as citizens, the responsibility to make use of and challenge the political processes available to us.




1. Family Platform for Action

1.1 Actions to be taken by family members:

1.1.1 There must be an equal voice for all members of the household and a respect for all differing opinions.
1.1.2 All women, children, and men must have the right to physical safety and economic security. Children must not be treated as property.
1.1.3 Each member of the family must participate in budgetary issues, regardless of their individual income.
1.1.4 Adults must learn to make and uphold decisions made by consensus.
1.1.5 Contributions made to the family by each member must be honored and valued.

1.2 Actions to be taken by the community and NGOs:

1.2.1 Families must receive support that is not strictly crisis-driven.
1.2.2 Social support within the community must be available for parents.
1.2.3 Day care services must accommodate various schedules and offer sliding-scale payment options.
1.2.4 Information regarding family issues must be made locally available.
1.2.5 Financial support within the community must be made available.

1.3 Actions to be taken by government and regulatory agencies:

1.3.1 Families must receive support that is not strictly crisis-driven.
1.3.2 Economic necessities, including a minimum income, must be guaranteed.
1.3.3 Availability of affordable housing and preventative health care must be guaranteed.
1.3.4 Minimum wages and training for day care workers must be guaranteed.
1.3.5 Opportunities for job training/education must be available.
1.3.6 Tax credits and federal subsidies must be available.

2. Community Platform for Action

2.1 Replace the metaphors of war with metaphors of life.

2.2 Build coalitions and women’s circles as bases of power.

2.3 Educate professionals and all others in the areas of mediation and negotiation in order that contentious litigation be minimized.

2.4 Have NGOs and community-based organizations define the political agenda for all communities.

2.5 Communities should invite and expect every institution to enter into proactive dialogue and develop power-sharing mechanisms.

2.6 Implement gender equality in planning and policies in all community organizations.

3. Government Platform for Action

3.1 Recruit progressive girls or women to run for political office and/or seek appointments.

3.2 Develop new political processes to establish and maintain political campaigns.

3.3 Provide training programs for elected offices.

3.4 Provide educational opportunities and speakers bureaus to educate women and girls about career opportunities.

3.5 Continue campaign to defeat CCRI – The California Civil Rights Initiative.

3.6 GET OUT THE VOTE: register women to vote.

3.7 Develop linkages between state and federal government legislators to produce legislation that responds directly to the needs of the people.

3.8 Create a legislative watch that identifies bills related to women.

3.9 Identify mentors and role models for girls and women of all ages.

3.10 Elect people who will adopt our platform.




American Association of Retired Persons
American Association of University Women
BPW California Bar Association
Commissions on the Status of Women
Emily’s List
League of Women Voters
Mexican American National Women’s Association
National Organization for Women
National Women’s Political Caucus
The Women’s Foundation
Older Women’s League
WISH Women’s Campaign Fund

Adopted by the Human Rights Task Force of the California Women’s Agenda Assembly on June 29, 1996
Download the entire CAWA Report.