Deadline nears for action on bill promoting diversity on state boards, commissions


A bill promoting gender parity and racial diversity on public boards and commissions is moving through Beacon Hill for a second time. But advocates are worried that if it’s not voted on by the end of the current legislative session on July 31, the process will likely have to start all over.

The bill encourages state boards and commissions to avoid exceeding 50% of one gender. It also says that the racial and ethnic composition of each board and commission should reflect the percentage of racial and ethnic minorities in the general population. Additionally, the bill authorizes there should be a focused effort to appointment women of color to boards and commissions.

The bill would not apply to private nor corporate boards, not to municipal-level boards.

The act to ensure parity on public boards and commissions was originally sponsored in 2019 by Rep. Patricia Haddad and Sen. Jason Lewis. Lewis and Haddad then refiled the bill, including racial and ethnic diversity on public boards and commissions. The bill was moved out of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on Dec. 27 and is currently in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, where it has been sitting for months.

Lewis and Haddad reached out to YW Boston, an organization dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism, to help garner support for the bill. YW Boston created the Parity on Board campaign to advocate and spread awareness for the bill.

“The best decisions are made when you have diverse perspectives at the table, and you have people who are impacted by those decisions being a part of coming up with the solutions,” Beth Chandler, president and CEO of YW Boston, said.

This article was originally published by the Boston Business Journal. You can access the full version here



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 DEI Services—such as InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, 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.