We need more diverse representation in leadership and governance that more accurately represents the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has a robust pool of talented women and people of color candidates who are ready to serve. The data shows we have a long way to go in order to reach gender parity and increased representation of people of color on our state boards and commissions.
As our state and community continue to grow economically and culturally, enacting this legislation will bring about major change across our leadership. We need more diverse representation in positions of power and governance that broadly reflects the ever-evolving makeup of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Public boards and commissions impact policies and initiatives of our education, health and human services, housing and economic development, labor and workforce development, public safety, and more. Without the promotion of various viewpoints and voices to inform these critical decisions, our government and society will continue to marginalize those historically underserved and underrepresented.
Parity on boards and commissions will bring inclusion of thoughts, lived experiences, and ideas to better serve a wider variety of citizens.
A HISTORICAL LACK OF REPRESENTATION IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
In Massachusetts, women and people of color account for 51.1% and 29.9% respectively, of the state’s population and positions of leadership, but are substantially underrepresented in the ladder.
AN INEQUITY BETWEEN GENDER
AND POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP
In recent studies, statistics show that among the 50 most prominent public boards and commissions in the state of Massachusetts, women only represent 22% of the CEOs, 34% of the board chairs, and 39% of the board members.
UNDERREPRESENTATION OF WOMEN WITHIN KEY EDUCATION BOARDS
Women are underrepresented on our education boards, which is a concern given that women account for 75% of K-12 teachers, 94% of childcare workers, and 57% of all higher education students.
An Act to Promote Gender and Racial Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (H.3095/S.2029) asks that every public board or commission shall try to have at least 50% female and at least 30% of underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+ identifying folks as members. This does not ask for current members to be displaced or removed from their positions. Those responsible for hiring members should make a conscious effort to appoint and hire diverse members to all boards and commissions. This intentional effort could include but is not limited to, working with organizations who specialize in diversity, equity, and inclusion as a means for workplace recruitment, retainment, and culture.
If boards and commissions do not have these percentages in their makeup, then they must report and explain why that is the case. This reporting would be administered by the board or commission itself and sent to the Office of the Governor.
Those responsible shall identify and report to the gov’s office data that reflects their effort for achieving parity. They should disclose the total number of members and break down by female members and underrepresented members, including those identifying as LGBTQ+ and female. They shall also identify the total number of persons who applied or were nominated for an appointment to each public board or commission and similarly breakdown the data.
This legislation also encourages the Governor’s office to publish a report once a year that outlines this collected data. No data disclosed will share individual applicant or nominee information other than identifying demographic information.
We are building a coalition of leaders, supporters, volunteers, and partners interested in diversifying leadership and decision-making in Massachusetts. Support An Act to Promote Gender and Racial Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (H.3095/S.2029) by becoming a Parity on Board coalition partner.
As a coalition partner, you will receive updates on the status of the bill, have the opportunity to be a part of coalition meetings, and be the first to know of future interventions in support of this bill. As a coalition partner, you are committing to publicly advocating for this bill. To join our coalition, reach out to Advocacy Manager, Brianna Savage at BSavage@YWBoston.org.