We Made Great Strides, but There’s Still Work to Do: Celebrating Women’s History Month in Boston

It’s important to pause and celebrate the women who impact us every day. Those we interact with on a daily basis, and those women who came before us that have made positive changes in the workplace and our world. Making sure all women and girls have equal opportunity is not only an important issue to myself and my administration, it is a priority in the City of Boston.

When I was first sworn in as Mayor of Boston, I created the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. This office is the first of its kind in the country and my goal in creating it was to have a dedicated department to provide a needed perspective on important issues. Additionally, I wanted to ensure that we are able to give voice to those perspectives by working to provide a seat for women at every decision-making table in City Hall. Since its establishment in 2014, the Office has worked on issues surrounding child care affordability, paid parental leave, the gender wage gap and much more.

One issue the Office of Women’s Advancement is targeting is the disproportional wage gap seen between genders and even amongst different groups of women. I am a strong proponent of Massachusetts’ new pay equity law, which will go into effect this July. Yet, knowing that we have had a federal pay equity law since 1963, but we still don’t have equal pay, I knew we had to do more. We partnered with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to be the first city to bring free salary negotiation workshops to 85,000 women over five years, training over 6,000 women thus far. These workshops have showed us that women are using the information they learned to start conversations around fair and equal pay with their family, colleagues, supervisors, and friends. This helps our workforce move away from the silence and secrecy around pay and closer to parity.

The Boston Women’s Workforce Council (BWWC), a public-private partnership between my administration and the Greater Boston business community, is a collaborative effort to close the gender gaps in wages and representation in our workforce. When employers sign on to the BWWC’s 100 percent Talent Compact, they commit to identifying gaps that may exist within their company, taking actionable steps to close them using the BWWC network and resources, and submitting actual aggregate and anonymous wage data to measure the Greater Boston gender wage gap. Working with Boston University’s Hariri Institute for Computing as our data partner, we’re using a first-in-the-nation analysis to think differently about how to solve one of our nation’s most persistent issues.

In March, we will amplify the amazing contributions remarkable women have made throughout our history. But it’s crucial that we stay conscious of injustices that are still very much present around us and try to do more to strengthen the voice fighting for women’s rights and equality here and now. Those that we honor during Women’s History Month, would never want us to stop fighting for these critical changes.

Together, no matter your gender, let’s channel the strength and resilience these women have shown, even in times of great defeat and hardship. Let’s continue work to ensure our city is one of inclusiveness across all Boston neighborhoods and strive for a more equitable tomorrow.

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