Promoting Diversity on Massachusetts Public Boards and Commissions

Women and people of color account for 51.51% and 29.9% respectively of the state’s population* but remain underrepresented in positions of leadership among our public, taxpayer-funded boards and commissions. Massachusetts leads the nation in human talent and our pipelines are replete with women and people of color ready to serve but we still 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. It’s time we do better for our community.

The Parity on Board Coalition, led by YW Boston, is a statewide coalition advocating for An Act to Promote Gender and Racial Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (H.3095/S.2029) This bill will provide that appointing authorities for public boards and commissions shall strive to appoint at least 50% female and at least 30% of underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+ identifying people as members. The bill does not require current board members to be displaced or removed from their positions.

Boards and commissions must identify and report to the Office of the Governor data on their members, including identifying demographics. No data disclosed will share individual applicant or nominee information other than broad identifying demographic information. The Office of the Governor will issue a report to publish this data annually. If the appointing authority does not meet its diversity goals, it will explain why and describe any efforts being taken to increase diverse members.

The Parity on Board coalition rewrote the Parity on Board bill and filed this new bill in January 2023. Representatives Dawne Shand and Tram Nguyen are co-lead sponsors in the House of Representatives where Senators Liz Miranda and Jason Lewis lead our Senate bill. The original bill was first filed in 2019 the bill was reported favorably to the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight and was then referred to the committee on House Ways and Means.

States Working to Promote Equity on Boards

Additional Resources


In 2019, the Women’s Power Gap chose to focus on Massachusetts’ 50 most prominent government boards and commissions because citizens should expect their public…


Last year, California mandated that every publicly-traded company, with headquarters in the state, have at least one woman on its board by the end of 2019…

by Stephanie J. Creary, Mary-Hunter (“Mae”) McDonnell, Sakshi Ghai, and Jared Scruggs

Evidence that board diversity benefits firms is mixed. A 2015 meta-analysis of 140 research studies of the relationship between female board representation and performance found a positive relationship with accounting returns, but no significant relationship…

Taffi Dollar – gender strategist and a co-pastor at World Changers Church International.

Last year, California mandated that every publicly-traded company, with headquarters in the state, have at least one woman on its board by the end of 2019…

by Erica Hersh

Having an effective board of directors is crucial to an organization. Even if the average person might not be able to name an organization’s board members, they have a strong impact on how an organization runs, makes decisions, and ultimately, on its success…

by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kate Purmal

The news about U.S. women’s presence in the C-suite — and especially the CEO job — has been pretty bleak. Nationwide, fewer than 5% of CEOs of public companies are women….