Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 550: Establishing a Task Force on Successful Women in the Workplace

Date: 03/12/2014
Issuer: Deval L. Patrick
Mass Register: No. 1257

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, women in the Commonwealth wish to succeed in the workplace and at home, and deserve the tools to achieve those reasonable goals;

WHEREAS, according to annual average 2013 labor force estimates for Massachusetts, females represent 48.7% of Massachusetts residents over the age of 16 in the labor force, who are employed or unemployed and actively seeking work;

WHEREAS, recent analysis from the Pew Research Center revealed that nationally women are the sole or primary source of income in 40.4% of all households with children under the age of 18;

WHEREAS, the recent Shriver Report found that nationally there are 42 million financially insecure working women and 28 million children who depend on them; and, although women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers, a vast majority of them receive no paid sick days;

WHEREAS, a recent study by the Boston Club found that only 13.8% of the directors of Massachusetts’ 100 largest public companies are women, an all-time high for the Commonwealth, but below the national average of 17%;

WHEREAS, a recent Pew Research study found that 51% of working mothers and 16% of working fathers said that being a working parent has made it more difficult to advance their careers; and, that women are more likely than men to have experienced career interruptions related to family;

WHEREAS, Crittenton Women’s Union found that one in five of the Commonwealth’s working families with children is low-income or poor;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth remains committed to workplace equality and ensuring equal access to services and opportunity across the economic spectrum;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must continue to create and implement new creative strategies to provide more opportunities for women to thrive, succeed, and lead;

WHEREAS, additional coordination at the executive level will ensure that the Commonwealth remains at the forefront of women’s leadership and achievement;

WHEREAS, establishing a public-private task force provides an opportunity for the Executive to join together with private stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to promote the economic mobility and success of women in the workplace;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  There is hereby established the Task Force on Successful Women in the Workplace (the “Task Force”).

Section 2.  The Task Force shall consist of not more than 30 members, including the co-chairs and ex officio members.  Each member, other than the Chair and the ex officio members, shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at the Governor’s pleasure, without compensation, solely in an advisory capacity.

The Task Force shall include the following members or their designees: the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, the Secretary of Administration and Finance, the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

The Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, or her designee, shall chair the Task Force.

Up to twenty-three (23) additional qualifying members as the Governor deems appropriate, including at least one member from the following groups: a Massachusetts higher education institution; private enterprise; a mission-based organization focused on issues that align with the work of the Task Force; a union representative; and researcher with expertise in the issues facing women in the workplace. 

Section 3.  The Task Force shall coordinate joint efforts to address issues relating to the success of women in the workforce. 

In fulfilling its mission, the Task Force shall review recent and relevant data and reports to develop a working knowledge of the issues facing women in the workplace; examine the existing laws and policies governing those issues and make recommendations concerning any need for amendments to the current laws and policies, including any recommendations for new legislation or regulations.  In formulating its recommendations, the Task Force shall confer with representatives from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and the various state offices responsible for ensuring equal access to opportunity as well as with individuals, entities, academics, practitioners and others with expertise in these areas.  All agencies, departments and boards of the Commonwealth shall fully cooperate with the Task Force.

Section 4.  The Task Force shall report back to the Governor within six (6) months of its first meeting with recommendations in response to Section 3 and the following, including, but not limited to:

  1. )       What the Commonwealth can do, as an employer, to advance women in the workplace;
  2. )       What specific policies the Commonwealth could adopt to improve access to opportunities and equality; and,
  3. )       How the Commonwealth can encourage the private sector to adopt policies that promote advancement and economic mobility.

Section 5.  The Task Force shall meet at such times and places as determined by the Chair.

Section 6.  The Chair may direct the Task Force to form subcommittees to focus on particular issues facing women in the workplace.  The composition and nature of each subcommittee shall be determined by the Chair.

Section 7.  Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to require action inconsistent with any applicable state or federal law. 

Section 8.  This Executive Order shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 12th day of March in the year two thousand and fourteen and of the Independence of the United States, two hundred and thirty-eight.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Secretary of the Commonwealth

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