The state Department of Human Services has announced the appointment of Catherine A. Betts as executive director of the state Commission on the Status of Woman, which works toward equality for women and girls in the Islands through advocacy, education, collaboration and program development.
Betts brings extensive experience in advocacy and women’s issues earned in the fields of family law, violence against women and violence prevention. She is a former deputy attorney general with the state Family Law Division and subsequently worked in private practice in the areas of family and immigration law.
Betts previously served as an appointed commissioner to the Honolulu County Committee on the Status of Women from 2001 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011. She also worked as an education coordinator for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, a program with the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Betts is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she interned at the California Women’s Law Center and assisted in publishing a resource manual for immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
She later graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law and was awarded the 2004 Patsy T. Mink Legislative Fellowship for her interest in legislative policy and dedication to social justice. She also served as the Mink Fellow in Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s Washington, D.C. office.
Betts currently serves on the board of directors for the Hawaii Women Lawyers and the board of directors for the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association.