MassGAP Statement on Presidential Debate
BOSTON - At the presidential debate
last night, questions arose regarding how women candidates were
identified for potential appointment to leadership roles by former
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. What follows details the process
that was created by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus in
2002 to maximize opportunities for women to be considered for key
roles in Massachusetts government.
The Massachusetts Government
Appointments Project (MassGAP) was founded under the leadership of
the MA Women’s Political Caucus in 2002 to address the issue of the
under-representation of women in appointed positions in Massachusetts
government. MassGAP brought together a nonpartisan coalition of over
25 women's organizations to recruit women to apply for government
positions within the administration, and recommend qualified women
for those positions.
Prior to the 2002 gubernatorial
election, MassGAP approached the campaigns of candidates Shannon
O'Brien and Mitt Romney and asked them both to commit to: (1).“Make
best efforts” to ensure that the number of women in appointed state
positions is proportionate to the population of women in
Massachusetts; (2). Select a transition team whose composition is
proportionate to the women in the Commonwealth; and (3). Meet with
MassGAP representatives regularly during the appointments process.
Both campaigns made a commitment to this process.
Following the election, MassGAP formed committees for each cabinet
post in the administration and began the process of recruiting,
interviewing, and vetting women applicants. Those committees selected
top applicants for each position and presented this information to
the administration for follow-up interviews and consideration for
Prior to the 2002 election, women
comprised approximately 30 percent of appointed senior-level
positions in Massachusetts government. By 2004, 42 percent of the new
appointments made by the Romney administration were women.
Subsequently, however, from 2004-2006 the percentage of
newly-appointed women in these senior appointed positions dropped to
MassGAP is proud to have the
Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus as our lead sponsor and we are
grateful to all of the women who have devoted their time and energy
to making this project a continued success. The Massachusetts Women's
Political Caucus is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in
1971 to increase the number of women elected and appointed to public
office and public policy positions and to maximize the participation
of women of all ages in the political process.
About the Massachusetts Government
The Massachusetts Government
Appointments Project (MassGAP) was founded in 2002 as a non-partisan
coalition of women’s groups whose purpose is to increase the number
of women appointed by the new governor to senior-level cabinet
positions, agency heads and selected authorities and commissions in
the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC)
is the Lead Sponsor of this coalition. The current MassGAP co-chairs
are Amy Burke and Lauren Stiller Rikleen.
View video of MassGAP co-chair Lauren Stiller Rikleen discussing this on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes
View video of MWPC Executive Director Priti Rao discussing this on CNN's Newsroom