Achieving diversity on Massachusetts public boards and commissions.

Massachusetts leads the nation in human talent, yet data shows a lack of representation of women and people of color on state boards and commissions. An Act to Promote Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (HD.633/SD.934) would work to promote diversity in leadership and governance that broadly reflects the demographics of our Commonwealth.


Parity on board

What is it?

Massachusetts leads the nation in human talent, and our pipelines are replete with women and people of color 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.

We need more diverse representation in leadership and governance that broadly reflects the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and offers a variety of perspectives on the decisions that impact our community and our future.


Parity on board

The Opportunity

As our state and community continues 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. Parity on boards and commissions will bring inclusion of lived experiences, thoughts, and ideas to better serve a wider variety of citizens.


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 board

The Facts

A Historical Lack of Representation in Leadership Positions

In Massachusetts, women and people of color account for 52% and 28% respectively, of the state’s population yet are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions.




People of Color


public boards
An Inequity Between Gender and Positions of Leadership

In the 50 most prominent public boards and commissions in the state, just 22% of the CEOs, 34% of the board chairs, and 39% of the board members are women.




Board Chairs


Board Members


Underrepresentation of Women Within Key Education Boards

Women are underrepresented among our key education boards which is an urgent concern given the fact that women are 75% of teachers in K-12, 94% of child care workers and 57% of all higher education students.


Educators K-12​


Child Care Workers​


Higher Education Students​


Parity on board

What would this legislation do?

An Act to Promote Gender and Racial Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (HD633/SD934) 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 that 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 including presenting the numbers of total number of members and breaking it 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. 

Coalition Members​


Become a Coalition Member​

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 (HD633/SD934) 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 


Stay up to date with coalition updates, bill progress, and future involvement opportunities by signing up for the Parity On Board newsletter.