YW Boston and Attorney General Maura Healey host convening on achieving parity on public boards and commissions
AG HEALEY, YW BOSTON HOST CONVENING ON ACHIEVING GENDER PARITY AND RACIAL DIVERSITY ON PUBLIC BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
Virtual Convening with Massachusetts Appointing Authorities and Elected Officials Featured Keynote Presentations by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Eos Foundation’s Andrea Silbert
December 1, 2021
BOSTON – Today, Attorney General Maura Healey and YW Boston President and CEO Beth Chandler co-hosted a convening of appointing authorities and elected officials to discuss how to collaboratively address efforts to achieve gender parity and racial and ethnic diversity on public statewide boards and commissions.
The event, titled “Virtual Convening on Intentionality: Building Diversity on Public Statewide Boards and Commissions,” was held this afternoon and provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges and successes, share best practices, explore available tools and resources, and brainstorm future collaboration. The event was not open to the public but facilitated a conversation among appointing authorities, including the state’s constitutional officers and legislative leaders, about improving board parity.
“State officials in Massachusetts have a shared commitment to diverse representation in government – who is at the table matters,” said AG Healey. “Our goal is to create public boards and commissions that better reflect our communities and offer a variety of perspectives on the decisions that impact our future. I am proud to work with organizations like YW Boston and the Parity on Board Coalition in discussing these opportunities and am grateful to our partners for their leadership and support in diversifying statewide appointments.”
“Today we gathered to begin a conversation on how to advance equity within our boards and commissions here in the Commonwealth,” said Chandler. “I want to thank all the appointing authorities who joined to strategize about the most effective ways to ensure gender and racial diversity on public boards and commissions. More diverse public boards and commissions will not only lead to better decision-making by these public bodies, it will also cultivate a pipeline of public servants to help lead Massachusetts in the future. Investing in diversity has exponential dividends for all residents.”
The convening featured keynote presentations by State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg and Eos Foundation President Andrea Silbert.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow appointing authorities to increase diversity at all levels,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “Equal representation on boards and in the workplace is not just socially admirable, but a necessity for these boards to achieve their mandates. Data has proven that more diverse organizations are more creative, innovative, and successful.”
“We have learned that good intentions around diversity just don’t get you to equity of outcomes,” said Silbert. “Employers/search committees/appointing authorities must set specific demographic goals and measure annually against those goals. Those in power also need training in how to recognize and combat unconscious gender, racial, and ethnic bias in selection processes.”
In a 2021 report, the Eos Foundation’s Women’s Power Gap Initiative studied changes in the demographic makeup of 50 of the most prominent statewide boards and commissions since 2019. Although the Initiative reported an increase in white women serving as public board chairs from 2019 to 2021, no similar progress had been made for people of color in the intervening years.
Women and people of color, and particularly women of color, have been historically excluded and are currently underrepresented on statewide public boards and commissions. In the Attorney General’s Office, a concerted effort has been made to appoint individuals from diverse backgrounds to statewide boards and commissions, including recent appointments to the Cannabis Control Commission, the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advisory Council, and the Health Connector Authority Board.
Media Contact for the Office of the Attorney General: Jillian Fennimore, (617) 727-2543
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 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.
YW Boston is leading the Parity on Board coalition and advocating for legislation to ensure gender parity and racial and ethnic diversity on public boards and commissions. But representation won’t improve unless public boards commit to fostering inclusive workplaces that can support these diverse candidates and unless these candidates of diverse backgrounds answer the call to serve. Visit parityonboard.org to learn more about getting involved in a public board or commission in Massachusetts, or to sign up as a coalition partner in support of more diverse leadership in our Commonwealth.