Friday, February 28, 2014

Women's History Month Events

Happy Women’s History Month! 

This March, the MWPC will be sure to keep you updated on all of the events around the Commonwealth celebrating Women’s History Month. Below are some events that will be taking place this month:
  • On Tuesday March 25th, we will be hosting a Young Professionals Event “Getting There and Staying There” featuring the public speaker and leadership coach Priscilla Douglas. Join us from 6-7pm at Market Lounge, 21 Broad Street for an evening of networking and professional guidance. The event is free and open to the public, please RSVP to
  • Every Tuesday in March from 5pm - 7:30pm, Darryl’s Corner Bar will be having a National Women’s History Month Speaker Series. Speakers include Dani Monroe (Mar. 3), Carole Copeland Thomas (Mar. 11), Monica Cost (Mar. 25), and Juliette Mayers (Apr. 1).
  • On March 6th, from 2pm - 4:30pm, the Discovery Museum will celebrate Amelia Earhart with “SMART Gals (Science, Math, Art): Amelia Earhart”.
  • On March 7th, starting at 7:30am, the  17th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast Moving Women's Wages Forward - Locally and Globally will take place in the Paresky Center of Simmons College.
  • On March 20th, at 6:30pm, filmmaker Catherine Russo will show her documentary “A Moment in Her Story”. This documentary shows stories from the women’s movement in Boston. It will take place in the Cambridge Public Library. 
  • On March 27th, from 7pm - 8:30pm, the Abigail Adams Historical Society will have a discussion panel titled “Revolutionary Women: Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, and Judith Sargent Murray”.

Republicans in the House are struggling to complete their GROW Project, Growing Republican Opportunities for Women. Last June, Republican leaders in the House announced the program to elect more women, but aren’t meeting their goals. Thirty years ago, both Republicans and Democrats had equal female representation. Today, the Democratic Party takes the lead in female seats, with Democrats comprising three quarters of women in the House. Additionally, “an ABC-Fusion poll last October found that only 23 percent of Republicans agreed that “it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress,” while 60 percent of the Democrats surveyed agreed with that statement.” Hopefully, the Republican Party can find the support it needs to boost female representation within the House.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

What We've Been Reading...

Happy Friday, everyone!

Yesterday, the LA Times posted a report entitled "Women, you'll likely die before there's gender parity among leaders." The report speculates that women will not reach parity with men in leadership roles in business, politics, and more for 71 years. The report sums it up: “Progress is slow.” The report also touches on women in media, and their bleak presence in movies, sports media, and tech. This report is a testament to the importance of educating and motivating women, in the hopes that it will not take 71 years to achieve the parity that should exist today.

A Robin Thicke concert on March 4th at Agganis Arena on Boston University’s campus is causing a controversy. The Humanists of Boston University are calling on school officials to cancel the concert due to the “misogyny” Thicke exhibits in his hit single “Blurred Lines.” The Humanists told Fox News: “Having Thicke perform is a political statement that is out of touch with the realities of sexual violence and Boston University’s own history.” The Humanists created a petition to cancel the concert and it has received 1,600 signatures so far. If the concert goes on as scheduled, The Humanists have planned a peaceful protest to bring awareness to the realities of rape culture and its effect on young women.

Last week, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) said in an interview that the U.S. is not ready for a female president. Discussing a possible Clinton campaign in 2016, Bachmann controversially claimed that Clinton’s potential for success will be hindered by the fact that “she is a woman, and isn’t black.” “There was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” said Bachmann, “People don’t hold guilt for a woman.” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) responded to Bachmann’s statement in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, betting that if an election was held tomorrow, Clinton would win. The increasing number of women in elected positions points clearly to a growing desire among voters for female representation in Washington.

Alison Lundergan Grimes is looking to unseat incumbent Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. If successful, this 35 year old former ballet dance and kickboxer, would become the state’s first female senator. She is already making huge strides, with an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton officially endorsing her next Tuesday. Although critics currently claim Grimes is inexperienced and will, “crumble against a veteran who joined the Senate when she was in the first grade.” However, the polls tell another story, with democratic support in Kentucky at an all time high. Read the New York Times’ full piece on Grimes here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The MWPC is proud to support “Fashion for Freedom”, a benefit fashion show taking place this upcoming Friday, February 21st at the Linda K. Paresky Center at Simmons College. The event hopes to raise awareness and educate young people of the sex trafficking and forced prostitution of women and children happening worldwide and in the United States.

Fashion for Freedom will feature a fashion show of students wearing clothing designed to illustrate the transformation of a victim to an empowered survivor. Various spoken word artists will also perform to complement the narrative of the walking transformation during the show. Amirah, a non-profit organization that provides support to former victims, will lead an open discussion following the performance about the growing problem of sex trafficking in the Boston area with those attending.

Three million women and girls worldwide are currently enslaved in the sex trade. The average age of a girl forced into prostitution is 13 years old. Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of entering prostitution trades in the United States while one in three teens on the streets will be lured towards prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.  

Through the event, organizers hope a meaningful dialogue will emerge from their use of art, design, and poetry that will ultimately lead more people to participate in stopping these injustices in the future. If you would like to attend or learn more about “Fashion for Freedom” please visit the event's Facebook page!

For more information regarding sex-trafficking and prostitution in Boston and what you can do to help please visit:

Friday, February 14, 2014

MWPC Responds: A Little Valentine's Day Straight Talk

“Young women in college need to smarten up and start husband-hunting,” begins Susan Patton’s 2014 Valentine’s Day op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (read below). Patton’s thoughts on this Valentine’s Day are focused on reminding young women that their “biological clock is ticking,” and we should be “spending far more time planning for your husband than for your career.”

In 2014, young women in college are expected to, by Patton’s standards, seek out and meet as many “like-minded, age-appropriate single men” as possible. Don’t forget taking it slow in relationships, Patton warns. She even concedes that this ideal might be a “message of yesterday,” but insists that it still applies: “Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.”

In 2014, a female writes an op-ed insinuating women are commodities to be “bought.”

At the MWPC, we see the career development of women across the Commonwealth as the most central and decisive way to positively impact our state, and thus the nation. Hopefully, the young women of Massachusetts have not internalized this type of sexist oppression, but instead stand up against it. They can stand up against it by studying hard, making goals, and striving to be better for themselves and the ones they love. If those goals include some day starting a family, being in a committed relationship, or getting married to a man or a woman, that is wonderful. If they do not, that is wonderful too.

Brittany Straughn 

What We've Been Reading...

Happy Valentine’s Day MWPC friends!

This article, written by the blog, sparked our interest due to their focus on the growing trend of ultra-genderization in children’s toys by toy companies. The article was written in response to a resurging 1981 advertising campaign by LEGO featuring a young, red-headed girl proudly holding a LEGO house she built shortly before posing for the picture.

The original 1981 advertisement has received significant attention in the girl empowerment stratosfear recently because it issues an important reminder that toys should remain inclusive to all children, and should not strictly attract to either girls or boys. The author believes toy companies have stopped using the creativity of the child to produced the message in an advertisement as seen in the 1981 ad, and instead uses the toy to deliver messages of gender to children.

The young girl pictured in denim overalls, Rachel Girodano, posed for a new picture along side the 1981 version of herself, but is now holding an ultra-feminized LEGO toy targeted to young girls. Giordano is now a doctor living in Seattle and agrees that the current “gender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression.” Do you think gendered specific toys are affecting children, specifically the goals of young girls?

Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit is partnering with Getty Images with the hopes of changing the image of what a working women looks like in today’s world. Stock photos now typically show a working woman juggling an aspect of family life with her professional life in a way that perpetuates stereotypes. Sandberg believes the images of women shown in stock photos “often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see.”

Getty Images, one of the largest providers of stock photography, will now offer more contemporary images portraying working women as surgeons, painters, bakers, and soldiers. Sandberg hopes that by changing the visuals of working women in society the stereotypes entrenched in our society will disappear and new ones will emerge. This is an important step, and we applaud both and Getty Images! Read more about it here.

The Sochi Olympics have been a big stage for female athletes, with the addition of five new female events to the games this year. More females than ever before have been able to showcase their skill, strength and speed in Sochi, with thousands watching from around the world. The United States recently celebrated a gold medal win from Kaitlyn Farrington in halfpipe snowboarding, which in the past has typically been a male dominated sport! These were the first Olympic games for 24 year old Farrington, making this win especially exciting for her. Competing against a slew of well decorated olympic veterans, Farrington’s only goal was, “to reach the final round of the competition,” which she certainly succeeded in! For more about Farrington’s exciting win, check out the Washington Post’s article here

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton spoke to a group of New York University women as a part of her “No Ceilings” project, a collaboration between the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. During her appearance, Hillary was asked for her best piece of advice for “aspiring female changemakers.” Her lengthy response can be found here. Thanks for your inspiration, Hillary!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 13, 2014                                          
Contact: Samantha Washburn-Baronie,
Acting Executive Director
(617) 451-9294

Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus PAC Endorses RoseLee Vincent for 16th Suffolk House Seat

BOSTON- The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus Political Action Committee is thrilled to announce their endorsement of RoseLee Vincent for State Representative for the 16th Suffolk District, which is comprised of neighborhoods in Chelsea, Saugus, and Revere. The Primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 4th.

“We are proud to endorse RoseLee Vincent for State Representative,” says MWPC Acting Executive Director Samantha Washburn-Baronie. “A lifelong resident of Revere, RoseLee has the institutional knowledge and passion to be a strong voice for her constituents on Beacon Hill. She is a proven community leader, as demonstrated by her involvement in countless civic groups, from the PTA to the Revere Beach Partnership. Her professional and personal connections to the district make her the best person for the job.”

“I'm honored to receive the endorsement of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus,” says Vincent. “MWPC provides valuable resources to first-time candidates like myself. I am looking forward to connecting with new and old friends in the great communities of Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus during this election, and I am proud to have MWPC by my side!”

A lifelong resident of Revere, Vincent is intimately familiar with the 16th Suffolk District. For 25 years she has served as Chief of Staff to former State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein and before that State Representative William G. Reinstein. She is a founding member of the Community Media Center (Revere TV), a member of the Revere Beach Partnership, the Revere Beautification Committee, Historical Revere Beach, the Saugus River Watershed Council, and is the Chair of the Revere Democratic City Committee. RoseLee was a longtime member of the PTA and advocated for women’s athletics. She is a recipient of the Unsung Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

About the MWPC PAC
The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Political Action Committee is a multi-partisan organization that works to increase the number of women elected and appointed to public office and public policy positions and to increase the involvement of women of all ages in the political process. Please visit to learn more about out Political Action Committee.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

A Tribute to Therese Murray

Senate President Therese Murray has announced she will not seek re-election to the chamber when her term expires at the end of the year. During her twenty-two years on Beacon Hill, Murray has accomplished a tremendous amount and inspired many individuals to get involved in politics. Murray alluded to her future saying, “I’m leaving all my doors open, whether it’s academic, the nonprofit sector or the healthcare sector. I haven’t decided what to do next, but politics has always been in my blood and will continue to be.” The MWPC looks forward to what Murray will achieve in the future, but we will take a moment to reflect on her noteworthy past thus far.

Therese Murray was elected Senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable District in 1992. She then served as Chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee before becoming the first woman President of the Massachusetts Senate in March 2007. Throughout Murray’s career, she has championed many initiatives that the MWPC supports. 

Murray has been a driving force behind health care reform in Massachusetts; she helped pass the Health Care Reform Act of 2006. Since then she has worked to increase access to primary care doctors, modernize the health system, reduce small business health care costs, and ensure continued access and improved quality outcomes. Murray has also been a voice for children and families during her time in the State House. Senator Murray passed legislation to expand the Mental Health Parity Law while sponsoring legislation to improve early identification of children with mental illness. Murray has also contributed to welfare reform, transportation reform, and education reform.

MWPC has had a wonderful relationship with Senator Murray since first endorsing her run for Senate in 2004. Since then MWPC has re-endorsed Murray in all of her campaigns for reelection. She has been a featured speaker at many MWPC programs, such as Commonwealth Commentary and Young Professionals. In 2008 Murray received the Dolores L. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award at MWPC’s Annual Tribute to Abigail Adams, recognizing her outstanding commitment as a female leader. Senator Murray will be greatly missed by MWPC, but it is our hope that we will continue working with her in future endeavors.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What We've Been Reading...

Happy Weekend, MWPC Friends!

This Wednesday, Politico’s Robin Marty asked a question those of us at the MWPC have been asking for years.  Why are there so few women in politics? Marty posed this question in response to the news that Sandra Fluke, well known activist and advocate for reproductive rights, would not be running to fill the state Senate seat in the wake of veteran lawmaker, Henry Waxman’s retirement. Marty states that there were many factors that contributed to Fluke’s decision not to run including pressure from members of the Democratic Party that she should “wait her turn” and that the “wait your turn” mentality has been one of the biggest challenges in encouraging young women to run for office.  Marty’s full take on the situation can be seen here.   
Janet Yellen officially took the reigns as Chair of the United States Federal Reserve on February 1, 2014  marking a historic moment for women everywhere. According to U.S. News and World Report, she has hit the ground running. With today’s job report being classified as disappointing once again, Yellen is expected to call for an economic policy shift almost immediately upon taking office.   Read more about her projected policy decisions and upcoming challenges here.   
Since President Obama emphasized the importance of a quality preschool education, the topic of early childhood education has become the topic of much bipartisan discussion. Many states have been forging ahead with public preschool programs recognizing not only the benefits to our nation’s children, but for American women and families as well.
The 90th Winter Olympic Games opened in Sochi this week, but not without controversy.  Amongst the issues being debated on the international stage, a lack of parity for female athletes has made its way to the forefront.  This is the first time that women’s ski jump will be included in the Olympic Games.  This is not only a milestone for women skiers, but also a measure of process in gender equality in elite sports.  While the Sochi Games offer more opportunities for female athletes of any Winter Games yet, many such as Maura Grogan, columnist for USA Today, believe that there still is not parity.  Currently, od the 93 individual events in Sochi, 43 are for women while 50 are for men.  Grogan believes that “The reasons for the unequal treatment of women, like concern over women's health, are anachronistic and sexist.”  
Along with the controversy regarding a lack of parity, there has also been a tremendous amount of discussion regarding an interesting ad campaign released by the Russian Olympics Team.  The ad features scantily clad female Russian athletes.  In theory, the campaign was meant to empower female athletes, but many around the world believe that this portrayal of female athletes was more degrading than empowering.   Read more about this controversial campaign here.   

Caucus season officially starts tomorrow. Good luck to everyone participating!