Sumter Bill to Establish Office on Women’s Research and Policy Clears Assembly Panel

Measure to Study and Review of the Status of Women in New Jersey

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel approved on Monday legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter to stimulate and encourage the study and review of the status of women, and to strengthen family life by directing attention to critical problems confronting women as homemakers, mothers, spouses, and workers.

“Recent debate on equal pay for women has brought attention to a multitude of issues affecting women in the state and, throughout the country,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “We need to review issues facing women in New Jersey, identify the obstacles and make it easier for women to live their best lives, pursue higher education, raise their children, receive the healthcare they deserve, and create opportunity for career success.”

The office will perform the following functions:

1. Collaborate with other state agencies and affiliated groups, including but not limited to the New Jersey Advisory Commission on the Status of Women and the Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education, to address issues the disproportionately or especially affect women;

2. Identify gaps in existing data on women, request particular analyses of data on women and disseminate this research to New Jersey policy makers, including government officials and legislators;

3. Conduct research by surveys, generate original research by using quantitative methods and needed and collect existing data:

4. Disseminate information to New Jersey policy makers on a spectrum of issues relevant to women’s lives, including but not limited to women’s status in the workforce, access to child care and other resources, education equality, violence against women and economic self-sufficiency; and

5. Discharge its duties in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutger’s University.

The bill (A-1127) also creates the “Women Research and Policy Fund” in the Department of the Treasury, to receive all funding for the Office of Women’s Research and Policy from the state and other sources. The office will be authorizes to seek funding from the federal government and other sources in certain cases, and directs that an annual appropriation be made to the fund in an amount necessary to effectuate the purposes of bill.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.