The Council on Women is established in Virginia Code Section 2.2-2630 as an advisory council in the Executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Council is to identify ways in which women can reach their potential and make their full contribution to society and the Commonwealth. The Council consists of 18 members, appointed by the Governor, from around the Commonwealth one of the Governor’s Secretaries (The Secretary of the Commonwealth) who is an ex-officio member with full voting privileges. Members serve a term of three years and may be reappointed.
Pictured above are members of the Virginia Council on Women with the 2012 STEM Essay Scholarship Award Winners- May 16, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Rita Surratt, Council Member)
2013 STEM Essay Contest
The Virginia Council on Women in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia announces the 2013 STEM Essay Contest. Governor Robert F. McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for the contest. More information can be found by downloading the form below.
Determine the studies and research to be conducted by the Council;
Collect and disseminate information regarding the status of women in the Commonwealth and the nation;
Advise the Governor, General Assembly and the Governor’s Secretaries on matters pertaining to women in the Commonwealth and the nation;
Establish and award scholarships pursuant to regulations and conditions prescribed by the Council;
Review and comment on all budgets, appropriation requests and grant applications concerning the Council, prior to their submission to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources or the Governor; and
Develop programs and projects on matters pertaining to women in the Commonwealth and the nation through public-private partnerships.
Mais Abousy (term expires 6/30/2016)
Leslie Anderson (term expires 6/30/14)
Lis Bresee (term expires 6/30/2015)
Jeff Caruso (term expires 6/30/2016)
Julie Coggsdale (term expires 6/30/2016)
Bakula Dave (term expires 6/30/2014)
Brenda Fastabend (term expires 6/30/14)
Camille Fleenor (term expires 6/30/2014)
Ann Harbour (term expires 6/30/2015)
Dawn James (term expires 6/30/2014)
Tracy Key (term expires 6/30/2016) *Chairwoman*
Nicole Neily (term expires 6/30/2014)
Theresa Preda (term expires 6/30/2015)
Cary Sousa (term expires 6/30/2015)
Rita Surratt (term expires 6/30/2014)
Brooke Trible (term expires 6/30/15)
Olivia Turner (term expires 6/30/2016)
Ruth Zajur (term expires 6/30/2016)
2012 STEM Essay Contest
The Council on Women in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia sponsored the first ever 2012 STEM Essay Contest. First Lady Maureen McDonnell serves as Honorary Chairwoman for the contest. The purpose of the Council is to help women reach their potential and maximize their contribution to society and the Commonwealth. In so doing, the Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal; one being the annual essay contest for young women in high school. We believe opportunities offered to women early in life will help lead to their success as productive and resourceful citizens. The essay had to focus on the student’s vision for a future STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career and why they are considering this field for an area of study or possible career path. Hundreds of essays were submitted by young ladies who were juniors or seniors in high school and hold at least a 2.5 GPA. Council members raised $10,000 from SKASKA, MeadWestvaco, NewMarket, and K. Packard Fancher to make 3 scholarship awards. The awards were given out during the Science Museum of Virginia’s "Up and Atom" Women’s Leadership Breakfast on May 16, 2012.
The Virginia Council on Women supports the First Lady of Virginia’s FLITE Initiative. FLITE recognizes achievement within the First Lady’s four key focus areas:
A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Preventive Health and Wellness
A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Economic Development, with a specific focus on the Virginia Wine, Film, and Tourism Industries
A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Military Families
The Virginia Council on Women is in the process of collecting information from organizations and institutions that offer leadership opportunities for women within the Commonwealth. Through this effort, Leadership Resources for Virginia Women is an on-going effort to provide women information and access to a variety of opportunities throughout the state. We believe that when women are afforded opportunities to gain leadership skills, they improve their lives and the lives of others in their communities. We welcome recommendations and referrals for additions to the directory and encourage organizations, educational institutions and others, to make their members, students and the public they serve, aware of this effort.