The operation of the North Dakota Commission on the Status of Women is mandated by North Dakota Century Code 54-34.3-10. Our mission is to improve the status of women in North Dakota. Our specific role in this work is to understand issues affecting the wellbeing of North Dakota’s women and relay this information, with a non-partisan and unbiased voice, to the Office of the Governor, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and to the state legislature.  
The commission serves as a platform for collaboration, discussion, and information sharing. We will elevate the work of organizations currently striving to improve the status of women in North Dakota and will seek to have a positive impact on increasing the number of women in leadership roles in North Dakota.  

Commission Members:

Member NamePositionCountyAppt. DateTerm Ends
Christy DauerMemberCass09/08/202106/30/2025
Debra EslingerMemberBurleigh07/01/202006/30/2026
Melissa Feist-EricksonMemberWard07/01/202306/30/2027
Jennifer Turnbow - ChairMemberBurleigh10/12/202006/30/2024
Cortnee JensenMemberCass09/27/202306/30/2026

About Us

We are a volunteer board that consists of five members who are appointment by the Office of the Governor. All commissioners participate in meetings as available to listen, share input, provide updates and participate in discussion. Any commission-related effort outside of the meetings is up to the member’s discretion. We meet at least quarterly and our meetings are open to the public.  

The Commission on the Status of Women is seeking input regarding existing programs and resources to support women’s leadership across North Dakota. Please share your thoughts through the survey at this link or contact Stacey Pfeifer with any questions or comments.

Women’s Leadership in North Dakota

The commission has two focus areas: women’s leadership and equity. Our primary focus for the near future will be women’s leadership. In the future equity, specifically pay equity and health equity, will also be considered as priority areas.  
Women are underrepresented in leadership roles across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This focus area will be the commission’s top priority for the next two years. During the first year we want to work with our partner organizations to develop answers to the following questions:  

  1. What is the current status of women in leadership roles in North Dakota? 
  2. What barriers (or other factors) might be the cause of this disparity?  
  3. What programs/resources already exist that seek to address this challenge?  
  4. Where might there be opportunity for expanding services or programs?  
  5. How/Can this be addressed through policy? 

During year two we will develop recommendations for programs, services, and/or policies that can increase the percent of women in leadership positions. Successful implementation of this goal will result in an increase in the number of women represented in leadership roles across public, private and nonprofit sectors statewide.  

Some History

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created the President’s Commission on Status of Women (chaired by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt) in order to address conflicting ideas about women’s economic and civic equality and opportunity in the workplace. Following the establishment of the President’s Commission many states created commissions as well. North Dakota was one of thirty-two states that had active commissions in 1964. (from the State Historical Society of North Dakota,


Meeting Minutes:

May 27, 2021

November 22, 2022