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The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Empowers Female Candidates

By Michael Givens , Oct. 04, 2018
Womens Rights - Frist we walked

Womens Rights - Frist we walked

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For the last 47 years, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC) has worked to promote women in politics and ensure that they’re elected for office. Founded in 1971, the caucus has eagerly championed the idea that women of all ages should be involved in the political process. Providing workshops, panel discussions, and a myriad of opportunities for women to learn about and engage in politics, the caucus has fought for gender equity in a field largely dominated by men.

Laurie Martinelli, executive director of MWPC, shared an anecdote about the power of the organization’s work to elect women into office. “Earlier this summer I had been meeting with female legislators to introduce myself…One state representative, Joan Meschino, just elected in 2016, said that getting the MWPC endorsement felt like a ‘big badge of approval.’ She placed this endorsement prominently on her campaign literature and received a lot of positive feedback from the doors she knocked on and people who supported her campaign.”

The organization provides a wide range of programs for its members, many of which are open to the public and are great opportunities to support the organization. For the last 30 years, they’ve hosted the Abigail Adams event, a yearly gala celebrating women leaders in Massachusetts who’ve done public work to ensure equity for women in the state. This year’s recipients included:

• Harriette Chandler, Massachusetts State Senator
• Chaplain Clementina Chéry, Founder of the Louis D. Brown Institute for Peace
• Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, CEO of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA)
• Geri Denterlein, Founder and CEO of Denterlein, a Boston-based public relations firm
• Helen Drinan, President of Simmons University
• Colette Phillips, Public Relations Consultant

In early September, MWPC screened the documentary, “You Have a Voice,” a film that will be shown in high schools and colleges to help encourage young women to become more politically active. This past summer, the caucus hosted networking events and panel discussions. In the spring, they presented the “Good Guy” Awards, an annual gala honoring men who’ve championed women’s rights.

Amy Diamond, a board member and founder of the Berkshire Regional Committee, said that the elections in 2016 were the impetus behind her decision to join MWPC and start the western Massachusetts chapter. “I spent some time researching women in elected office, using the skills of an investment banker, and realized that women do not have the same support system going into a primary,” said Diamond. “I looked around for a non-partisan organization helping women to get elected and was introduced to the Women’s Political Caucus by a friend who had been the president of a [women’s caucus] in New Jersey.”

Soon after being introduced to the caucus, she started her own chapter, and within a few short months, the regional committee was active.

“Our committee began having meetings in February of 2017 and initially focused on providing forums for women where elected officials could discuss their experiences as women in the political process,” she continued. “We hosted state representatives, mayors, candidates, city council members, and appointed officials in an open forum. [Now] we have about 100 members and a bigger circle of friends who support women candidates running for office.”

Donate to the MWPC to help ensure Massachusetts becomes a more equitable state for all.

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