On October 28, 2019, less than a month after receiving a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, YW Boston’s Parity on Board legislation received a favorable report out of committee. The bill, now known as An Act to ensure gender parity and racial and ethnic diversity on public boards and commissions (H.4153), was redrafted to include language changes proposed by the Parity on Board Coalition. Language changes include:

  • Changing the term “woman” to “gender”
  • Adding a good faith clause for boards that are unable to meet the requirement of the legislation. The language reads “All appointive boards, commissions, committees, and councils of a political subdivision of the state that are established by the Code, if not otherwise provided by law, shall be gender balanced as provided by subsection 1 unless the political subdivision has made a good faith effort to appoint a qualified person to fill a vacancy on a board, commission, committee, or council in compliance with subsection 1 for a period of three months but has been unable to make a compliant appointment.”
  • Proposing that the Governor’s Office, with support from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, should be responsible for collecting and compiling data after implementation.
  • Excluding the public boards, Commissions, Committees, or Councils whose core mission it is to enhance opportunities for a specified gender, race, or ethnicity
  • Excluding boards that serve as municipal housing authorities.

The legislation is now in the House Ways and Means Committee awaiting further action. While the Coalition is excited by the timely favorable report, there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure the passage of this legislation.

For more information on the status of the bill or to learn how to get involved in advocacy efforts, please contact YW Boston’s Public Policy and Advocacy Manager, Christine Batista.