User menu

Executive Director

Emily M. Murase, PhD

Executive DirectorWelcome to the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women! In 1998, San Francisco became the first city in the world to adopt a local ordinance reflecting the principles of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In the intervening years, the Department has used the CEDAW human rights framework to guide our work and we have developed a number of innovative programs and tools to advance women's human rights. We have conducted gender analysis of City Departments as well as City Commissions and Boards to identify areas of gender inequality and make recommendations. Our flagship grants program, the Violence Against Women Intervention & Prevention Program, funds 24 community-based agencies to address domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Emily Signature


June 11, 2014

Take the Challenge 2014

(San Francisco, CA) Successfully recruiting additional women to the board of directors, delivering women’s health education on the factory floor, convening of a parent chat group to enable law associates to come out of the closet as parents. These were among the top 10 corporate programs recognized in the 2013 Gender Equality Challenge. The Gender Equality Principles Initiative is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Gender Equality Challenge.

The Challenge invites leading companies to submit programs that reflect any one the seven Gender Equality Principles designed to advance gender equality in the workplace, ranging from eliminating discrimination in recruitment, hiring, pay, and promotion to enabling work-life balance and supporting educational and career goals, to securing the health, safety, and well-being of women workers. “Gender equality in the workplace is essential for San Francisco’s continued economic progress, and we invite our leading corporations to take up this challenge and highlight their model practices,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “I’m proud that the Department on the Status of Women is spearheading this initiative so that women can succeed equally in San Francisco.”

“The current model of work was created in the 19th century based on men, not women, in the workforce,” says Dr. Emily Murase, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. “Companies are struggling to retain top women employees. We ask that leading companies share with us how they are creating a gender equitable 21st century workplace that better reflects today’s workforce.”

Companies with at least 1,000 employees and an office located in any of the 9 Bay Area counties can participate. Participants in the 2013 Challenge included AT&T, Baker & McKenzie LLP, Bayer Healthcare, Business for Social Responsibility, Charles Schwab & Co, Deloitte LLP, eBay Inc, Levi Strauss & Co, Symantec Corporation, and Twitter. As part of the Challenge, companies must report how a model practice is contributing to gender equality in the workplace. The top practices will be showcased at a January 2015 forum. In future years, the Gender Equality Challenge will expand to include small and mid-size companies.

About the Gender Equality Principles Initiative: This Initiative was launched by the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women in 2008 in partnership with the Calvert Investments, a global leader in responsible investing, Verité, a global leader in worker safety and employment fairness, and a range of companies, nonprofits, and experts in gender, human rights, labor, and legal issues, to help companies advance gender equality in the workplace through the implementation of the seven Gender Equality Principles.


Our Work

Our Work

The Department primarily focuses on 4 program areas: Women's Human Rights, Violence Against Women, Women in the Workplace, and Girls.

Equality in the Workplace

Equality in the Workplace

Find important information on Gender Equality Principles Initiative, Resources for Women in Work, Work-Life Balance and more.

Stay Informed

Stay Informed

Sign up to stay informed on meetings, events and other important information.

About the Commission

The Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) is a commission of the City and County of San Francisco whose purpose is to ensure women and girls equal economic, social, political and educational opportunities throughout the city.

Twitter Updates

Back to Top