November 13, 2018

Lawmakers to discuss female leadership in education

Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
The Massachusettes Statehouse.

Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad plan to host a briefing Wednesday delving into women's leadership in Massachusetts education.

According to the event's organizers, the Women's Power Gap Initiative, women account for 57 percent of higher education students and 75 percent of all K-12 teachers, but there has never been a female commissioner of K-12 education in Massachusetts and two of the 12 Board of Higher Education members are women.

The group says Massachusetts public universities lag behind their private peers in their share of female presidents and are "backsliding" -- women now lead two of the 15 state universities, down from five in 2008.

Spilka is the third woman to serve as Senate president, and Haddad is the highest-ranking woman in the House, which has never elected a woman as speaker. Female lawmakers are set to hold a new high of 28.5 percent of the 200 seats in the state Legislature next session.

The Women's Power Gap initiative aims to increase the number of women leaders across sectors in Massachusetts, and its exploration of higher education is the first in a planned series.

Wednesday's briefing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in Room 428, with lunch provided.

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