McCormack Speaks

Shift to Women on Boston City Council is Astounding


This blog originally appeared in the CommonWealth and is posted with permission of the authors.

by Ann Bookman, PhD and Christa Kelleher, PhD

women in political leadership political buttonThere’s been much buzz around Boston since this month’s election which resulted in the historic victories of two additional women of color to the Boston City Council. Councilors-elect Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey will join four incumbent women of color councilors in January, marking the first time in the city’s history that nearly half (48 percent) of the council will be comprised of women. The makeup of the City Council will now reflect the increasingly diverse composition of the city’s residents. History has indeed been made.

What does this watershed moment tell us about the journeys of women to the Boston City Council? Given research on women’s political leadership by UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, we know just how hard it has been for women – and particularly for women from underrepresented communities – to achieve elective office. We have documented the challenges facing female candidates and the barriers that have kept women from running in the first place. Continue reading.


About the authors: Ann Bookman directs the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy. Christa Kelleher is the center’s research and policy director.

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