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Mayor Walsh Announces Formation of Office of Women's Advancement and Boston Women's Commission

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, a department which will oversee and coordinate the Mayor’s initiatives to promote equal rights and equal economic, social, political and educational opportunities for all women and girls throughout Boston. In addition, Mayor Walsh announced the revitalization of the Boston Women’s Commission, which will advise the Mayor on issues pertaining to women in Boston and work closely with the Office of Women’s Advancement to fulfill its mission of attaining full equity for women in all areas of life. 

“I am thrilled to have the Office of Women’s Advancement and the Boston Women’s Commission in place to help make Boston America’s premier city for women. I strongly believe that when women succeed, Boston succeeds,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am particularly excited to have such a diverse and experienced Women’s Commission to work with me on this important issue. The equal treatment of the people of Boston impacts all of us - women and men alike - and with the new Commission, we are bringing all these voices to the table.”

The work of the Office of Women’s Advancement will focus on three key areas: understanding and reporting on the status of women and girls in Boston through data and research; advancing women’s economic equity in partnership with the Boston Women’s Workforce Council; and promoting women’s health and safety. The department will be housed in the Health and Human Services cabinet. The Boston Women’s Commission will support this work by providing a permanent, effective voice for women across Boston, and by collaborating with public, private, and non-profit partners on key issue areas significantly affecting women and girls.

Megan Costello will serve as the Executive Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement, as well as the Chair of the Boston Women’s Commission.

“Women make up 52 percent of Boston’s population, so there is a social and economic need to ensure equal opportunities for women in the City,” said Costello. “For the first time in nearly 20 years, we now have an appointed Boston Women’s Commission that will help make women equal participants in Boston’s economy and civil society. And with the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, we now have a vehicle for tangible policy change.”

The diverse Boston Women’s Commission is comprised of female and male leaders in business, academia, the non-profit sector, and civil society. The Commission can have up to 30 members, and the Mayor will seek to make additional appointments later this year. The 19 members appointed to date include:

  • Alicia Canady Adamson, Senior Director, Affinity Programs & Events, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley; Founder, The Young Black Women’s Society Inc.
  • Marques Benton, Vice President and Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • Ann Bookman, Director, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, UMass Boston
  • Liz Brunner, CEO and Founder, Brunner Communications
  • Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, CEO, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
  • Cassandria Campbell, Co-Founder, Fresh Food Generation
  • Migdalia Diaz, Priority Projects Manager, Associates for International Research, Inc.
  • Betty Francisco, EVP, Corporate Relations and General Counsel, Millennium Partners Sports Club Management LLC
  • Malli Gero, Co-Founder and Executive Director, 2020 Women on Boards
  • Diana Hwang, Founder and Executive Director, Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative
  • Arline Isaacson, President, Isaacson Political Consultants; Co-Chair, Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus
  • Genevieve King, Captain Detective (Retired), Boston Police Department
  • Liam Lowney, Executive Director, Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance
  • Colette Phillips, President and CEO, Colette Phillips Communications
  • Deborah Re, CEO, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
  • Robert Rivers, Vice Chairman, Eastern Bank Corporation; President and COO, Eastern Bank
  • Charles Rodgers, President, New Community Fund
  • Marie St. Fleur, President and CEO, Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children
  • Susan Wornick, Anchor and Reporter, WCVB-TV 

For more information on the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement or the Boston Women’s Commission, please visit:

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