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All issues are women’s issues. In Boston, women make up more than half of the residents and half the workforce. But disparities within some issues undeniably impact women more than men. When women have equal participation and access to assets in the workforce, families are healthier and communities are more vibrant. The wage gap in our city and across the nation shows that there is still much work to be done, and the wage gap continues to be far worse for women of color. For every dollar white men earn, Latinas in Boston earn just 45 cents, Black women earn 49 cents, Asian women earn 67 cents and White women earn 70 cents.

John knows that the success of women is foundational to the success of our families, neighborhoods, and to our entire city and economy. As Mayor, he will build partnerships that work to address the root causes of the wage gap, create more opportunities for women to thrive in their careers, improve workplace cultures, and dismantle the systemic barriers that stand between many women and their goals. He will also work to lift up the contributions of women throughout Boston’s history and today.


John’s Record

John has a long record of supporting women by strengthening early education, creating business opportunities and addressing public safety. 

  • As Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, John led the creation of Dudley Children Thrive, an initiative that supports and empowers families with young children to prepare them for school success. 436 families with 722 children participated.

  • As Chief of Economic Development, John appointed women to key positions in his cabinet, including his chief of staff and directors of small business, equity and inclusion, business strategy, tourism and licensing. 

  • John worked in a joint effort between the Office of Economic Development, the Office of Small Business, and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement to create Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WeBOS). WeBOS advances Boston’s Women entrepreneurs by providing the skills, business training, and network they need to launch and grow their businesses. 

  • He played a pivotal role in launching the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund, a key part of the City’s childcare strategy, which directly helped dozens of women business owners keep their critical childcare businesses open during the pandemic. He also created and expanded programs that provided access to capital and technical assistance to women-owned businesses through the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, the Mayor’s Economic Mobility Lab, and the Small Business Unit. 

  • With business leaders, John supported the Boston Women’s Workforce Council’s 100% Talent Compact, a first-in-the-nation, public-private partnership through which businesses pledge to take concrete, measurable steps toward eliminating the gender gaps in wage and representation in their companies.

  • John and the Office of Economic Development supported the free salary negotiation workshop program created as a partnership between the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. Boston has trained over 10,000 women and hosted over 467 in-person trainings. Data collected by the partnership found that 48% of women who took part in these workshops used the skills they learned to negotiate a higher salary.

  • John was part of the team that set new standards for work-life policies by establishing paid parental leave for City employees.

  • John advocated for a Pay Transparency And Pipeline bill that would require large Massachusetts companies to anonymously report the gender, race, and pay of their management. The bill would also establish a fund to provide professional development services to companies that reported large disparities.

  • John supported the Massachusetts Pay Equity Law, which prohibits employers from asking applicants for salary history, in order to stop perpetuating pay gaps.

  • John helped lead the charge on eliminating the “cap on kids,” which provided vital resources for families, a majority of whom are households led by women.

  • John and the Office of Economic Development supported the City’s effort to eradicate commercial sexual exploitation, partnering with businesses and faith leaders to help their workers and volunteers recognize the signs of this activity. Training was provided to over 40 businesses.

  • Successfully led the effort to get the City to commit to at least 25% of public contracts (representing approximately $170-$180 million) going to businesses owned by women and people of color every year.

As Mayor, John will:

Improve resources available to low income families so that women can build financial security and become more economically mobile. 

  • Advance solutions to close the gender wealth gap, including a pilot for Guaranteed Minimum Income, which primarily benefits women-headed households with children.

  • Continue to fight to eliminate asset thresholds from public benefits like food assistance and Headstart. Asset tests require families to have resources below a certain threshold in order to qualify for benefits, which discourages saving and wealth-building. John will work to ensure that more families can build savings without sacrificing their ability to access social safety nets in times of need.

Leverage the power of the Mayor’s office to increase women’s earnings and representation in the workforce.

  • Continue to invest in the 100% Talent Compact, a partnership with the Boston Women’s Workforce Council to reach pay equity for working women. John will encourage more employers to examine their salary data and practices and pledge to close the gender wage gap. He will prioritize data collection on the gap for women of color. 

  • Expand salary negotiation workshops to ensure hourly workers are well represented and trained, and increase language capacity for workshops to ensure all women are able to obtain training regardless of the languages they speak.

  • Bolster women-owned businesses by increasing supplier diversity at the City of Boston, expanding WeBOS, and develop partnerships with anchor institutions to support women-owned businesses.

Work toward universal access to affordable childcare and advocate to expand paid parental leave across all of Boston’s work sectors. 

  • Address the childcare crisis by providing financial and technical support for the childcare workforce, conducting additional research on childcare needs and preferences of working families, and developing public-private partnerships that help families now. This will include increasing funding for the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund, to ensure that all family child care providers are funded and trained. 

  • Review and improve the City of Boston’s own family leave policy, and work with other public employers and the private and nonprofit sectors to improve their policies as well. 

Address the health disparities and discrimination that women face, including exposure to violence, abuse, and trauma.

  • Work to eradicate the higher rate of maternal mortality in Black women, by addressing the root causes of health disparities.

  • Create an Advisory Committee to look broadly at the incidence of gender-based violence within the City of Boston. This Committee will create a systems approach to combating gender violence in all its forms, through a wide range of strategies. They will include understanding root causes and taking action to prevent violence in the home, community and formal early education strategies, efforts toward long term social norms change and mobilization of resources to support victims of gender-based violence.

  • Continue to invest in CEASE (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation) Boston, a chapter of the CEASE network, and partner with 11 pioneering partner cities committed to combatting sex trafficking. 

  • Provide free feminine hygiene products and install lactation rooms in all public buildings.


Just as this campaign is a community effort, this policy plan has been informed by a diverse group of residents, policy makers, and community organizations who reflect Boston's ingenuity, passion, and future. In this policy you will see your voice reflected and your neighborhood priorities front and center. I am incredibly grateful for the hours, data, and guidance leant to support this effort. I welcome continued feedback and suggestions from all corners of the city, because I know that policies are most successful when led by the community.
Now, more than ever, I have the opportunity to bring all voices to the table to create a Boston that brings prosperity and justice for everyone.Together we can create a Boston where nobody is left behind.
Thank you for reading and helping to shape Boston's future, I look forward to working with you.