Committee on Women's Rights

Statement on Atlanta and Boulder Shootings

The American Public Health Association’s Committee on Women’s Rights expresses our sympathies for those affected by the recent shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado, as well as our deep dismay over the tragic epidemic of gun violence that continues to shake our nation. When violent events occur in spas or groceries stores, low wage immigrant women workers are often the victims of these acts of aggression.

These recent events shed light on the experiences faced by low wage immigrant women workers. The intersection of race, class and gender plays a big role as a determinant of workplace inequality further subjecting these women to violence as they strive to make a living.

Individuals everywhere deserve laws that protect them from acts of violence. Advancing race, class and gender equity are key components of violence prevention and a public health priority, and we stand ready to continue to work with lawmakers to enact commonsense measures to address this issue with the urgency it deserves. We also offer our support and gratitude to the first responders who worked quickly to treat and comfort those affected by gun violence.

It is imperative that we work together to better understand the culture of violence in our nation and to identify sensible solutions in an effort to protect low wage immigrant women workers, their families and communities.

[Sources: Washington Post, Washington Post, American Behavioral Scientist, Economic Geography)

About the Committee

This committee is concerned with women's rights, including a primary focus on gender inequities in health care and health policy. The committee also places some emphasis on other issues, such as economic and pay inequity, the glass ceiling and expanding the definition of women's health beyond reproductive health. Usually only one male serves on this six-person committee. The committee meets in the spring by conference call and during the Annual Meeting, for which meeting expenses are not covered. The term for members of the Committee on Women's Rights is three years.


The Committee on Women's Rights was created by the APHA Governing Council as a Standing Committee in 1971. Standing Committees are defined in APHA's Constitution, Article XIII, Section 1. as "..those Committees which are necessary for the continuing effective operations of the Association and which are charged with responsibilities for internal organizational, structural, and/or administrative affairs of the Association."

COWR's mission was broadly defined in the Constitution, Article XII, Section (d): "COWR relates the concerns of the entire APHA membership and all its organizational components to the problems associated with women in society which involve considerations of health, health services, and health career opportunity."

COWR also works to improve the health status of women through addressing social, cultural, economic, educational, environmental and political conditions that impact families.

Committee Membership

Article XIII, Section 2 of the Constitution defines the conditions of COWR Membership: "The Executive Board shall appoint the chairpersons and members of Standing Committees to three-year terms with a limit of two consecutive terms, with no reappointment until at least one year has elapsed. Appointments shall be scheduled so that approximately equal numbers terminate each year. The Executive Director shall be an ex officio member without vote of each Standing Committee. Members shall be appointed only after soliciting and considering suggestions from units of the Association. Members of Standing Committees shall serve as individuals and not as representatives of any organization."


The core values of the APHA Committee on Women's Rights for individuals and communities throughout the world are: health; equity; diversity; integrity; dignity; self determination; respect; ethical practice; and knowledge.


The APHA Committee on Women's Rights promotes and protects the health and well being of all women.


  • To improve the quality of life for all women
  • To ensure access to health care and appropriate health care services
  • To improve services that focus on health promotion and injury/illness prevention for women
  • To promote and protect the physical and social environment
  • To preserve and protect the rights of all women
  • To promote equal rights and opportunities for women in health careers

APHA Staff Liaison: Vina HuLamm, MS

Committee on Women's Rights meeting minutes

Roster/contact information

APHA Policy on Executive Session (PDF)

Women's Health Resources