You can become an advocate for racial and gender equity in Boston


In a short three-year period, YW Boston’s Advocacy Committee has fortified our impact in creating more inclusive and equitable spaces in Boston. Established in 2017, the Advocacy Committee has continued to work with volunteer community members to develop and implement the organization’s advocacy agenda with the goal of rectifying structural barriers to equity for women, girls, and people of color. 

As 2019 comes to an end, we’ll look back at our advocacy and legislative victories. None of these victories would be possible without the hard work of our Advocacy Committee members. And as some of our members step off the committee, we would like to invite Greater Boston community members who are passionate about social justice to apply

Planning for an impactful year

In 2019 the Committee welcomed a number of new members. Together, new and existing members engaged elected officials, organizations, and the public through legislative advocacy, coalition building, education, and action. The two policy areas the Advocacy Committee chose to focus on were the school-to-prison pipeline as well as ensuring quality, affordable childcare.  

After identifying these policy priorities for 2019-2020, the Committee joined several city and state-wide coalitions, secured funding from the state, strengthened relationships with legislators, testified at hearings, and created action plans to advance this work in 2019 and 2020.  

YW Boston promoted new policy priorities at MCSW Advocacy Day

On May 21, 2019, YW Boston staff and volunteers joined advocates from across the state for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW)‘s 8th annual Women’s Advocacy Day. Each year YW Boston joins the commission as an opportunity to speak with legislators about our current policy priorities. 

Many of the staff and volunteers present at the Advocacy Day attended YW Boston’s Advocacy 101 training on May 8th. Jill Ashton, MCSW Director, joined us for a fourth year to provide the training, covering the process of a bill becoming law, how to advocate effectively, and utilizing local resources such as coalitions and the State House’s website.

YW Boston advocated for VAWA alongside YWCA USA in Washington D.C.

YW Boston joined YWCA USA and YWCAs from across the nation at the 2019 YWCA National Conference. Held in Washington D.C. from June 5-8, the conference served as an opportunity for organizations to connect with and learn from one another. The conference theme was DARE TO BE POWERFUL, a tribute to Audre Lorde’s “words as a call to action, challenging each of us to use our strength in service of our vision to eliminate racism and empower women.” Through the conference, YW Boston had the opportunity to speak with our elected Congresspeople in support of the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

YW Boston testified in favor of equal access to education in Massachusetts

On July 23, 2019, YW Boston joined three other local organizations at the State House in support of An act to ensure equal access to education, including special education services, for all students in Massachusetts (H.432). YW Boston Advocacy Committee member and Public Policy & Advocacy Associate Chelsea Kamuene provided testimony on behalf of YW Boston to the Joint Committee on Education.

YW Boston launched Parity on Board coalition

In 2019, YW Boston launched the Parity on Board coalition in support of legislation promoting greater diversity on Massachusetts’ public boards and commissions. On May 16th, YW Boston, in partnership with the Eos Foundation, held the event Parity on Board: Achieving diversity on Massachusetts public boards at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The event was an opportunity to learn about the research conducted by the Eos Foundation on the gender leadership gap in Massachusetts and the advantages of having greater diversity serve our state. It also served as the launch and announcement of YW Boston’s Parity on Board coalition. 

YW Boston then went to work building a coalition of leaders, supporters, volunteers, and partners interested in diversifying leadership and decision-making in Massachusetts. The AAUW of Massachusetts, Amplify Latinx, Mass NOW, The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, The Women’s Bar Association, The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, and The WAGE Project are among the notable organizations who have joined the Parity On Board Coalition. Our President & CEO Beth Chandler penned an Op-Ed for The Boston Globe emphasizing the importance of this initiative.

YW Boston supports Mass Counts Census 2020 efforts

YW Boston was one of many local organizations to join the Mass Counts Census 2020 efforts. As a census sub-committee member, YW Boston was able to make important connections between government agencies and local organizations. These connections helped facilitate partnerships that are instrumental to improving census participation. Census data determines political representation and allocation of funding to provide critical services such as health care, childcare, and food access. As an organization committed to addressing gender and racial inequities, YW Boston supports census efforts that look to ensure that all communities, particularly those who have been historically undercounted, are accurately counted.

What’s next?

YW Boston’s Advocacy Committee is already looking ahead to 2020. The Committee is seeking community members who would like to participate in advocacy work and are interested in the policy priorities of the Committee. Members, who consist of both community members and YW Boston staff, are chosen to serve 2-year terms and are expected to participate in monthly advocacy meetings. As well as assist the committee in moving their legislative priorities forward and working towards greater equity in Boston.   

To apply to be a member of the Advocacy Committee fill out the application by January 3, 2020. If you have any questions about the application process or the committee itself, reach out to Christine Batista, Public Policy and Advocacy Manager at or 617-585-5495. 

Join the Advocacy Committee Today! 
  • We place a high value on creating a committee that is diverse across identities and experiences. People of color, especially women of color, are strongly encouraged to apply.  
  • Policy experience is preferred, not required.  
  • Applications close January 3, 2020. 


About YW Boston 

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.