Massachusetts Task Force Challenges Companies To Promote Women

A state task force was established by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to encourage the hiring of female employees in the Commonwealth. The task force is suggesting that companies permit more flexible scheduling, and hire and promote female workers to higher positions.

Almost half of the employees in Massachusetts are women, and nationwide they are either the only or main breadwinner in approximately 40 percent of families with children under the age of eighteen. It is a well-known statistic that women earn almost 25 percent less than male employees, and many find it difficult to juggle home and work due to inflexible work schedules. These have been ongoing problems for years, but the newly created task force is trying to change that.

Rachel Kaprielian is the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. She wants businesses to change outdated policies and become more family friendly, with the understanding that doing so benefits everyone desiring more time with their loved ones.

Governor Patrick recently started a one-year internship program for women after noticing a shortage of females in administrative positions and on the boards of private companies in the state. Fourteen women have been hired for executive positions at the state level.

Bentley University and Governor Patrick’s administration are challenging Massachusetts companies to hire more female workers and use their talents more effectively. Companies accepting the challenge will assign an administrator for the program, agree to hire women, increase the number of females at the executive level and narrow any wage gaps between male and female employees.

The task force also wants the Governor’s administration to look into paid family leave. Currently, almost three million workers in the state are not compensated when they miss work to take care of babies or other family members.

The task force is also targeting schools to encourage female students to learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to assist them in achieving higher paying jobs. Working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education, the task force will recommend courses for female students in high school that will help them in their future job search.

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