The Woman of the Year event was founded in 1987 by Assemblywomen Bev Hansen and Sally Tanner, who noticed that the California Legislature had no events for the month of March, Women’s History Month. In celebration of the contributions to society made by remarkable women throughout California, Hansen and Tanner arranged to invite one woman from each Senate and Assembly district to come to the Capitol and be honored for their accomplishments. The women are recognized as Woman of the Year in a formal ceremony on the floors of the Senate and Assembly.
The California Legislative Women’s Caucus has traditionally awarded honorees of the Senate and Assembly from each district in the State of California as Woman of the Year for their outstanding dedication and service to the people of the State of California. Women who have been awarded this honor include former or present Mayors, Secretaries of State, chancellors, judges, law enforcement captains and fire department chiefs, doctors, professors, business leaders, and many others who have demonstrated a willingness to go over and beyond to serve their communities and support their district.
Past recipients that California has awarded as Woman of the Year have additionally included individuals who have tirelessly worked in the nonprofit field such as Jan Sobel, President and CEO at Boys and Girls Club Los Angeles, Rebecca Grossman, Founder and Chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, and Sweet Alice Harris, an icon known as the Mother of Watts Philanthropist. Each of the women chosen as Woman of the Year at this annual event is carefully selected by members of the Senate and members of the Assembly. The list of extraordinary women being selected for this award continues to grow.
- This past March 20, 2023, traditionally in concurrence with Women’s History Month, members of the California legislature each honored a woman from their district as a 2023 California Woman Making Herstory. The title reflected the impact each honoree has made, and the value placed on her role within our community by giving every member of the Legislature the opportunity to honor a ‘herstory’ maker from their District, as well as the recognition of three recent women’s herstory record breakers: Dr. Sonya Christian, newly appointed permanent Chancellor of the California Community College system; Mayor Karen Bass, first woman elected Mayor of Los Angeles; and Secretary Shirley Weber, first African-American woman elected as California’s Secretary of State. “Their dedication and tenacity have inspired and changed our communities,” said LWC Vice Chair and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. The tradition will continue for many years to come with the upcoming March 2024 event fast approaching. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus represents and advocates on behalf of the diverse interests of women, children, and families throughout California. It seeks to increase the participation and representation of women in state government. Members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus seek to promote sound legislative policies and budget priorities that will improve the well-being of women, children, and families and to work cooperatively with local, state, and national women’s organizations interested in advancing policies to achieve these same objectives.