Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Celebrating Diversity!

Women Diversity

March 17, 2014
by diversity

20 Women’s Organizations You Need to Know

Women Diversity

As we  celebrates Women’s History Month this March, we’d like to share a list of key organizations serving women. The original article can be found at

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) is a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches and 500 college and university institution partners.

American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)

The American Medical Women’s Association is an organization which functions at the local, national and international level to advance women in medicine and improve women’s health. We achieve this by providing and developing leadership, advocacy, education, expertise, mentoring and through building strategic alliances.

Association for Women in Communications (AWC)

The Association for Women in Communications is a professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era.

The Center for Women’s Business Research

The Center provides knowledge about women business owners and their enterprises worldwide. It provides original, ground-breaking research to document the economic and social contributions of women-owned firms, and consulting and public relations services to maximize the benefits of this knowledge.

Financial Women’s Association (FWA)

Financial Women’s Association is a nonprofit professional organization established in 1956 by a group of Wall Street women. Its goals are: to advance professionalism in finance and in the financial services industry with special emphasis on the role and development of women, to attain greater recognition for women’s achievements in business, to encourage women to seek career opportunities in finance and business.

General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC)

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is a nonpartisan, nondenominational, women’s volunteer service organization founded in 1890. More than 100,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state and more than a dozen countries work in their own communities to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advance education, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage civic involvement, and work toward world peace and understanding.

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization dedicated solely to girls, where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. Girl Scouts’ membership has reached 3.4 million members throughout the United States, including U.S. territories, and in more than 90 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas.

Girls Incorporated

Girls Incorporated is a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc. has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas.

League of Women Voters of the United States (LWV)

The League of Women Voters of the United States, a nonpartisan political organization, has fought since 1920 to improve systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. The League’s enduring vitality and resonance comes from its unique decentralized structure. The League is a grassroots organization, working at the national, state and local levels.

National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)

Founded in 1972, the National Association of Female Executives provides education, networking and public advocacy to empower its members to achieve career success and financial security. Members are women executives, business owners, entrepreneurs and others who are committed to NAFE’s mission: the advancement of women in the workplace.

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)

The National Association of Women Business Owners propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community, creating innovative and effective change in the business culture, building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations, and transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

The National Council of Jewish Women is a volunteer organization that has been at the forefront of social change through championing the needs of women, children, and families — while taking a progressive stance on such issues as child welfare, women’s rights, and reproductive freedom.

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

The National Council of Negro Women is a council of national African-American women’s organizations and community-based sections. NCNW’s mission is to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities. NCNW fulfills this purpose through research, advocacy and national and community-based services and programs.

National Organization for Women (NOW)

The largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW’s goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women.

National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)

The National Women’s Business Council is a bipartisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. The Council’s mission is to promote bold initiatives, policies and programs designed to support women’s business enterprises at all stages of development in the public and private sector marketplaces, from start-up to success to significance.

Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)

Women Impacting Public Policy is a national nonpartisan public policy organization that advocates for and on behalf of women and minorities in business in the legislative processes of our nation, creating economic opportunities and building bridges and alliances to other small business organizations.

Women in Technology International (WITI)

Women in Technology International is a trade association for tech-savvy women, empowering women in business and technology to achieve unimagined possibilities. WITI has programs and partnerships that provide connections, resources, opportunities and a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other.

Women’s Sports Foundation

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a national charitable educational organization dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women of all ages and skills levels through physical activity.


The YWCA is one of the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world. Across the globe, the organization has more than 25 million members in 106 countries, including 2.6 million members and participants in 300 local associations in the United States. The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women.

Zonta International

Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. With more than 31,000 members in 66 countries and geographic areas, members volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects as well as scholarship programs.

February 3, 2014
by diversity

Upcoming Climate Study Planning Sessions

As a follow up to the Fall of 2012 Climate Study findings, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is hosting a series of luncheon planning sessions to explore ways in which we can promote a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff, faculty, and guests at UMass Boston. Community ideas received at these sessions will be used to develop action plans to improve campus climate.

We ask that you please join us for and bring your ideas to the following session:

Topic Date Location
The employee experience at UMB: Issues and concerns based on position Monday, February 10th
Ryan Lounge, McCormack, 3rd Floor

Save the date for upcoming sessions: 

Topic Date Location
The LGBQ experience at UMB: Issues and concerns Friday, February 14th
Ryan Lounge, McCormack, 3rd Floor
The diversity experience at UMB: Issues and concerns regarding race and ethnicity Friday, February 27th
Room 3540, Campus Center, 3rd Floor

The Climate Study results were presented to the University community on October 1, 2013. The report, materials, and presentation video are available on the ODI website (

If you plan to attend the February 10th session, please RSVP to by Thursday, Feb 6th. Lunch will be provided for those that RSVP only. If you require disability-related accommodations for this session, including dietary accommodations, please visit by Wednesday, Feb 5th. For questions or additional information, please email or call (617) 287-4818.

July 3, 2013
by diversity

What is DOMA?

On June 26th, 2013 the Supreme Court made a major LGB decision. In a 5-4 ruling in United States v. Windsor, the court struck down a provision of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married.

What is DOMA?
DOMA stands for “Defense of Marriage Act”, passed in 1996 by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

The section that the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional was Section Three titled “Definition of Marriage” (Barr, 1996), under Section 3, the definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ is stated.

‘In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’

Why was DOMA deemed unconstitutional?

According to the Fifth Amendment,
“No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Justice Kennedy wrote that the government cannot deem that same-sex “unions will be treated as second-class marriages for purposes of federal law” nor can it insist that same sex-marriages are “less worthy” or viewed as “a second-tier marriage.” (Mascarenhas, 2013)

What does this mean for gay marriage?
This ruling does not legalize gay marriage. It means the federal government has to recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples. The ruling does not require any state to legalize or recognize marriage equality that has not already done so.

Why was it important to get rid of Section 3 of DOMA?
The repeal of section 3 of DOMA creates many important changes for same-sex couples in the United States. This grants legally married same-sex couples the same benefits received by their straight peers including (GLAAD, 2013):
• Health insurance and pension protections for federal employees’ spouses
• Social security benefits for widows and widowers
• Support and benefits for military spouses
• Joint income tax filing and exemption from federal estate taxes
• Immigration protections for bi-national couples
• Military family benefits
• Multiple areas of tax categories
• Hospital visitation rights

Barr, B. 1996. Retrieved from website:

GLAAD. 2013. “Frequently Asked Questions: Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA)June 2013” Retrieved from website:

Mascarenhas, Hyacinth. 2013 . Retrieved from website:

May 30, 2013
by diversity

Commencement and the Achievement Gap

As I picked up my cap and gown from the bookstore, there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I have worked extremely hard these past two years to complete a nationally acclaimed graduate program in Public Affairs at UMass Boston. Throughout these past two years, I have dedicated a lot of my research to social policy an aspect of public policy that has always fascinated me. From a young age we are taught that people are different. I just never really understood why. My quest to find answers began as an undergraduate and was fueled by two classes in social justice that forever changed my understanding of the world. It was there I learned that I have privilege. I grew up in a white middle class family who had the time after work to read to me, had the resources to hire a math tutor when I struggled with algebra and whom had each earned a higher education degree. It was never in question that I would go to college and there was confidence in my ability to finish. I had been prepared for this and I had all of the resources I needed to succeed.

While I look back at my undergraduate career and now, graduate career I can’t help but look through a social justice lens and realize that my privilege as a white, middle class woman contributed to my educational successes. For many in this country completing a bachelor’s degree won’t happen. For some, they may be satisfied without a bachelor’s degree, but for most there is no choice. In the United States the achievement gap is widening. Achievement gap refers to the observed, persistent disparity on a number of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender. The achievement gap can be observed on a variety of measures, including standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and college enrollment and completion rates (Carnoy & Rothstein, 2013). Taken from the news source “Inside Higher Ed” about half of Americans from low-income backgrounds go on to attend college, compared to about two-thirds of middle income Americans and 80 percent of those with large incomes. Barely two in five black and Hispanic freshmen earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of entering college, compared to about 60 percent of white freshmen and 64 percent of Asian Americans (Lederman, Doug. 2007). White Americans are twice as likely as black Americans and three times as likely as Hispanic Americans to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the age of 29 (Lederman, Doug. 2007) .

There are many factors that contribute to the achievement gap; this chart found on the National Education Associations (2013) website best characterizes the most sited barriers.


It is worth noting that in my research of the achievement gap, a prominent factor was a child’s reading proficiency by the 3rd grade. One in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade won’t graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers (Hernandez, Donald J. 2011).


Governor Deval Patrick has made closing the achievement gap one of his top priorities in his second term in office, something he promised on the UMass Boston campus in 2011 at the Massachusetts Educational Summit. The speech in it’s entirety is available here.

I have outlined some of his main priorities:

  1. Every child must read well by the 3rd grade. Three-quarters of children who struggle with reading by third grade will continue to struggle academically, greatly reducing their chances of graduating high school, going to college, or successfully participating in Massachusetts’ economy.
  2.  Second, all children need a healthy start – and when they can’t get it at home, we must find a way to provide it for them. Poverty begets a whole host of out-of-school problems that affect the readiness of a child to learn in the classroom. Mental health issues, family violence, housing instability and inadequate nutrition – all are real and present obstacles to student attendance, attentiveness and success. Massachusetts proposes establishing Student Support Councils and deploying Student Support Counselors to predominantly low-income schools. Possibly even early education centers or colleges. These Councils will consist of local human and social service providers focusing their efforts on connecting with students and families through the schools to help meet their needs outside of school.
  3.  The student-first education must trump the system of adult convenience. A one-size fits all, batch-processing model never was intended to work for all of our children, does not meet our goal of proficiency for all, and falls far short of what will be necessary to maintain our top economic advantage: a highly-educated workforce. The most profound examples are our dropouts. No statistical achievement gap is as great as the singular one separating those children in from those who dropped out.
  4. We must prepare students for lifelong success. Success means the capacity to land and hold a 21st Century job in a high skills/high knowledge economy like ours. We are working hard to prepare our students to be admitted to college and to complete college once there, and our efforts in this area are intensifying. But we do not do enough to prepare students for whom college is not their best or preferred path. We need to prepare our young people to think about and succeed in middle-skill careers, too, careers just as valuable to them and their families, and just as important to our economic future. We are stepping up our support of vocational and technical schools, and looking at ways to better align the community colleges to meet the regional workforce needs of area businesses. I also propose that we pilot career academies to offer high school students the opportunity for early career exploration, more applied and experiential learning, and similar educational experiences that motivate students who do not see themselves as college bound.

While I will take my graduation on May 31st, 2013, with great pride for my hard work and dedication to my program. I will continue to use my privilege and education to work towards a more equal society. One where children won’t be disadvantaged in the third grade from completing high school because of financial disadvantages and one where the color of your skin won’t dictate your chances of earning a college degree. Children exiting America’s schools should be on an even playing field and every child’s dreams should be unlimited and attainable.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013, let’s make the world a better place.
Stephanie Bosley, MPA
Graduate Assistant, Office of Diversity and Inclusion



Carnoy & Rothstein, “International Tests Show Achievement Gaps in All Countries”, Economic Policy Institute, January 15, 2013

Governor Deval Patrick, 2011. “Education Summit 2011: Closing the Achievement Gap”

Hernandez, Donald J. 2011. “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence  High School Graduation”

Lederman, Doug. 2007. “Closing the College Achievement Gap” Inside Higher Ed.

National Education Association, 2013.



April 9, 2013
by diversity

UMass Boston Film Series: Before You Know It

Event Date: April 25, 2013 – 3 p.m.

Event Type: Open to public | Location: UMass Boston Campus Center, 3rd Floor, Ballroom

Picture from Before You Know It




One of the films of the 11th Annual Independent Film Festival Boston, PJ Raval‘s Before You Know It, will be screened at UMass Boston, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and UMass Boston’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, moderated by Film Series Curator Chico Colvard.



For more information on the films in the UMass Boston Film Series, call 617.230.7846 or email If you require disability-related accommodations, please visit