Boston Women's Workforce Council Works To Fill The Wage Gap

Boston Women's Workforce Council Works To Fill The Wage Gap

Megan Costello and MaryRose Mazzola come to BU!
48
views

In a small but rapidly growing corner of the Mayor’s Office, Megan Costello and MaryRose Mazzola work closely to bring Boston to the forefront of the gender equality movement—and they have.

Thursday, March 23, Costello and Mazzola came to Boston University to mediate a student town hall on women’s advancement and gender equality, hosted by BU’s Diversity in Law Association. The DLA invited the two leaders of the mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement and the Boston Women’s Workforce Council to discuss women's issues in the professional world, particularly the wage gap in the greater Boston area.

Unfortunately, Boston’s approach to eliminating the wage gap and issues in gender representation is unique to Boston. No other city in the country has taken data-driven steps to actively seek out a solution to this issue by combining both public and private sector efforts. The Office of Women’s Advancement works to meet these goals with a three-pronged approach.

The first prong is legislation, a crucial step in protecting vulnerable and underrepresented populations. Most recently, Massachusetts passed the equal pay bill (one of only four states to do so), which will ensure that employers can no longer ask for salary history. Because women are currently paid less than men, by reporting a lower salary history for the same job as a male candidate, a female candidate usually ends up receiving a lower salary. The hope is that this bill will help eliminate the gap by getting rid of regulations that amplify this pattern.

The next part of this approach is the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. This Council operates under the assumption that employers have a role to play in equal pay; it is not solely the responsibility of the government or individual women. The Council works with employers, anonymously collecting data from signers, to examine the wage gap problem and to also see where gender inequality may manifest itself in a company's organizational structure. The data can show predominantly where women are in an organization, retention rates, and prevalence in managerial or leadership positions.

The Women’s Workforce Council works with employers by holding them accountable to a 100% Talent Compact. This agreement facilitates research revealing internal representation and wage gaps, ensures employer anonymity and provides employers with concrete opportunities and ways to implement solutions. Currently, this initiative has around 200 signers, each committed to the mission of promoting gender equality. The Council also holds quarterly Best Practice Conferences where representatives from these employers gather to discuss their strategies and walk away with action plans to set into motion. This interactive, transparent partnership establishes a long-missing sense of trust between the government and business that will be essential for promoting equality, both now and in the coming decades.

The third prong is free salary workshop classes for women in the Boston area. While the responsibility should not solely rest on individuals, these workshops give women the tools they need to negotiate fair salaries. Furthermore, these classes teach women how to negotiate like women. People generally think about negotiation embodying male qualities, and many women endure social and professional backlash if they negotiate the same way men do, even if they are successful. These classes teach women how to use their personal strengths to their benefit in hopes that they can overcome these social stigmas.

From the current data gathered by this initiative, much of the previous literature and public conception regarding the wage gap has been confirmed. In fact, the wage gap for the greater Boston area is slightly larger than what was previously thought according to current analyses, with women making 23 cents less to the dollar of their male peers. This also only reflects reports from participating companies, employers with an interest in minimizing this gap, implying that in reality, this gap is probably larger.

The significance of this project is how progressive Boston appears ideologically, but also how much work still needs to be done in this supposedly progressive and liberal city. Many are surprised that there is such a significant wage gap in the area; as Mazzola phrases it, it doesn't jive with people's expectations. That's where the major backlash for this initiative comes into play. But what is positive is that Mayor Walsh does in fact practice what he preaches and is leading this city toward gender equality. Just as crucial are the business leaders in Boston, "socially oriented and progressively minded," willing to join forces with the government and lead by example. These already effective initiatives are incredible markers of Costello's and Mazzola's successes, as well as the success of our city.

The Speakers:

Megan Costello, the Executive Director of The Office of Women’s Advancement started the conversation with a bit of personal background. She began her professional life by working in Newton, MA for the mayor and then spent eight months in Iowa working on Obama’s reelection campaign. She also campaigned for Sen. Ed Markey D-MA and currently works for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. A crucial motivator behind her work is the values of Walsh, both personally and politically. Coming from a working class family, in Costello’s words, he as a lot of personal perspective gained from real-world problems like cancer, gun violence and alcoholism. His political style is both hands-on and humble, spurred on by the question, “How do we get to yes?”. After his campaign for Mayor, Walsh invited Costello to stay in his office and look into what Boston was doing for women and girls. The shocking lack of findings here drove Costello to stay in Boston and build up the city to its progressive ideal.

MaryRose Mazzola began her career in politics with a state senate campaign and proceeded to work for the senator once he had entered the office. She then became his political director for a statewide run. After her stint in the state house, Mazzola went on to graduate school for a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard's Kenedy School, with a focus on data analysis and women’s issues. After graduating, Mazzola joined Costello in the Office of Women’s Advancement, but then returned to the campaigning to help Michelle Wu win her seat as the city council president. After that last campaign, Mazzola began her work for the Boston Women’s Workforce Council and has since been working tirelessly to bring the Council's goals to fruition.

Cover Image Credit: Anima Anwar

Popular Right Now

A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
147660
views

I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

108
views

Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

Related Content

Facebook Comments