Women and politics took center stage on Wednesday, May 30 at the Fairmont Copley Hotel when the new coalition, Women’s Pipeline for Change, met at its first statewide conference.
The conference, titled Promoting Pathways for Women of Color Leadership, showcased five research fellows who, for the past year, have looked at topics regarding women and political representation. The five research fellows were Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, Holyoke City Councilor Gladys Lebron-Martinez, Former Lawrence School Committee Member Martina Cruz, Former Boston City Council Candidate Sheneal Parker, and Director of Western Massachusetts Governors Office Elizabeth Cardona.
The goal of the event was to talk about and “support women of color leaders at different stages of the political pipeline by highlighting their unique contributions to public life, helping them understand existing barriers, and connecting them to opportunities, resources, and networks to advance their leadership.”
“We want to, at least, get the conversation going,” said Ileana Cintron, Program Manager at the Women’s Pipeline for Change. “We are finding that when minorities get voted into public office, they stay there and get re-elected.”
Opening remarks for the event were provided by notable guest speakers Sonia Chang-Diaz, State Senator, Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor At-Large, and Carmen Ortiz, United States Attorney.
The mission of Pipeline for Change is “to build a sustainable infrastructure to support progressive women of color as they enter, navigate, and move up the pipeline to public leadership.” The way the coalition plans to accomplish this is through numerous initiatives from creating networks with which women of color leaders can tap into other politic figures, creating a community of women of color where politics and ideas can be discussed with recourse, as well as participatory research fellowships to learn more about the gender gap in public office.
The coalition is governed by a 19-member board and receives program and operational funding from its major sponsor, the Jobin-Leeds Partnership for Democracy and Education, LLC.