A Voice for Women and Girls: Governor Picks John Erickson
California Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed doctoral student John Erickson (MA, Applied Women’s Studies, MA, Women’s Studies in Religion, 2011) to serve as a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, a nonpartisan state agency that aims to promote equality and justice in key areas affecting women and girls.
The governor’s decision was announced in November as part of the latest set of gubernatorial appointments to state agencies and departments ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Technology.
For Erickson, who is the first male member and openly LGBTQ individual to serve on the commission, the appointment will give him a chance to positively impact the lives of women and girls from all walks of life at a time when a cascade of upsetting sexual harassment revelations is flooding the media, political, and entertainment worlds.
“There is no doubt that we’re in a time of difficult challenges, and I take this appointment very seriously,” said Erickson, whose appointment requires state Senate confirmation. “I’m looking forward to working with an incredible group of commissioners who have already dedicated so much of their time to furthering its mission.”
What led to Erickson’s appointment?
Erickson points to his upbringing. “Maybe I was just raised right,” he said. “I was born a feminist.”
Erickson’s professional portfolio and past experience also helped him receive attention during the selection process.
He participated in Equality California’s (EQCA) first-ever leadership academy, in which selected LGBTQ individuals in Southern California were trained to run for future office and to apply for appointments to commissions in California. In the process, Erickson said, he was able to engage with key people in Governor Brown’s administration.
Erickson has also been involved in local politics, including serving as deputy and chief of staff to West Hollywood council member Abbe Land and being elected president for the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t say it all really began at CGU, when I was accepted as the first man in the Applied Women’s Studies program,” Erickson said. “Specifically, under the guidance of Dr. Linda Perkins, I was able to truly discover my potential.”
Erickson said he is eager to work on issues including pay equality, intersectionality, access to reproductive health services, and supporting access to elected office for women as well as opportunities for their appointment to state and local boards and commissions.
“All my hard work to reach this point has paid off,” he said. “Now the real work begins.”