The Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1976 to support Mercer County in the development of policies and programs concerning women. The Commission acts as a liaison among existing community organizations, associations, and groups working to improve the status of women in Mercer County. In addition, the Commission advises the Mercer County Executive and Board of Chosen Freeholders about the areas of county government that affect women.
The Commission has adopted these goals:
  • Study the social, educational, and financial status of women in their varied roles in the community

  • Identify the gaps in services and the unmet needs that hamper women from full participation as citizens of the community, and create public and private resources to fill those needs and gaps

  • Improve access to public and private services for women in the Mercer County community by distributing information regarding resources, organizations, and legal rights

  • Introduce, conduct, and support projects that enhance the status of women in Mercer County

Among the early achievements of the Commission was the establishment of a task force on domestic violence, which evolved into Womanspace, a comprehensive service agency serving battered women and their children. A reorganization under County Executive Bob Prunetti brought the Commission into the Department of Human Services. Since that time, the Commission developed a nonprofit corporation and completed a major study to elucidate women’s satisfaction with government services. From that report, an initiative to provide assistance with child support was developed and assistance for first-time home buyers was made available.

In 1998, the Commission initiated its mini-grant program, which provides training and materials for peer educators to reach into their communities. The Commission recruits staff/volunteer teams from religious and community-based agencies, and supports their efforts to reach at least 100 women in their communities. In 1998, the mini-grant program focused on breast cancer screening and detection. In 1999 and in 2001, the program focused on women’s cardiac health. Parenting skills/developmental psychology was the focus in 2000, while the Commission devoted its resources on abuse issues and their effects on women in children in 2002.

An annual gala luncheon is planned each fall to begin the public awareness campaign and introduce grantees. 2005's campaign will be stress management in relation to health and well-being in women.

For more information, please contact Karen Conti at (609) 989-6526 or womenscommission@mercercounty.org.