Women head more than half of prominent state boards and commissions, a new study finds

Local Today Massachusetts News
By Leonard Parker

To promote diversity in public bodies, Eos, a nonprofit that tracks Massachusetts power imbalances, recommends that the next governor create a new cabinet role — a “Secretary of Appointments” with a staff overseeing recruiting for government service manages more than 700 boards and commissions. It’s a position California has held for more than a decade to drive a more transparent and inclusive nomination process.

Currently, Massachusetts has a board and commission office that falls under the purview of the governor, who makes most appointments.

“If you want to engage all the talent in the Commonwealth, make the Director of Appointments an Appointment Secretary with MPs and a robust staff that can reach every corner of the state and every demographic,” said Andrea Silbert, President of Eos.

Eos has tracked a variety of prominent state boards and commissions since 2019, from the Board of Higher Education to the Massachusetts Port Authority. Under Governor Charlie Baker, women have made notable gains: they hold 56 percent of CEO positions, up from 34 percent in 2019, and 43 percent of the seats in comparison 39 percent in 2019. During the same period, 44 percent of boards achieved gender parity, up from 32 percent in 2019.

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