Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women
Thursday, June 16
8:30 am – 9:45 am – Future of the Gender-Based Violence Movement Roundtable
Khara Jabola-Carolus is a survivor of domestic violence and the Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women, a feminist government agency located in Honolulu that is legislatively mandated to advance women’s rights. She chairs the State of Hawaiʻi Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the State of Hawaiʻi Home Birth Task Force.
In this capacity, she has designed and successfully passed legislation to codify and expand Title IX in Hawaiʻi state law, to advance transgender rights by removing the gender binary from state driver’s licenses, and the first and only law in the U.S. that allows women to vacate a prostitution conviction and expunge their record. She also led Hawaiʻi to become the first state where all counties passed legislation for a feminist economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and CEDAW legislation.
Khara prioritizes co-governance and has partnered with the community to publish impactfulresearch, reports, and essays such as Hawaiʻi’s feminist economic recovery plan Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for COVID-19, the first report on period poverty in Hawaiʻi, and Sex Trafficking Experiences of Help-Seeking Individuals in Hawaii.
Prior to entering government, Khara served as the Public Affairs Director of the Hawaii office of Strategies 360 where she passed a first-in-the-nation law to provide a state subsidy for family caregivers. Previously, she led the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant Rights where she passed landmark legislation that extended driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Khara earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaiʻi with a specialization in Native Hawaiian law, and B.A. from New York University and Franklin University of Switzerland. She has also formally studied at the University of the Philippines.
Her scholarship and leadership in government has been recognized through a variety of awardsand honors. Khara was recently named one of 20 for the next 20: Hawaiʻi’s People to Watch in 2021 by Hawaiʻi Business Magazine. She has been invited to testify before the United States Congress and been featured by UN Women, UNDP, and UNICEF and the United State of Women. She has also performed fellowships at the United States Senate, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, and Committee to Protect Journalists. Simultaneous to waged work, she is a mother of two toddlers.