FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham may join several other communities in the Commonwealth with a Commission focused on Women & Families.
In March, during Women’s History Month, Mayor Yvonne Spicer created a task force to explore creating a commission tasked with voicing and addressing the needs of Framingham’s
women and families.
In a memo to the City’s legislative branch on November 8, Spicer wrote to the City Council she wanted the Council to create a Framingham Commission on Women & Families, before she leaves office on December 31.
“Women make up 50.9% of the population in the City of Framingham” and that the growth of “Minority and Women Owned Businesses currently at 13% of which 12% is specific to Women Owned Businesses,” wrote Spicer to the 11-member City Council.
“A space and entity to center the needs of women and families in the city is critically needed. At an event held to celebrate Women’s History Month in March 2021, the idea of establishing a women and families focused group was conceived. In May 2021, I established an ad-hoc Women and Families Working Group to advise me on how best to serve women and families in Framingham. The initial working group consisted of nine (9) members representing each district. After careful consideration, the working group recommended that the City of Framingham establish a formal Commission to create continuity and prolonged advocacy for Framingham’s women and families,” wrote Spicer.
The meetings of the working group were not public. There were no video recordings made available to residents and no minutes taken.
The purpose of the new Framingham Commission would be to “enhance the lives of the residents of Framingham by raising awareness of the needs of women and families; promoting equity and fostering equal opportunities for those in our community. The Commission seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals most in need through advocacy, collaboration, education, outreach, and by making recommendations to the Mayor on these matters. The Commission will examine and facilitate discussions on issues affecting women and families; especially children. By providing a voice for all women and families in Framingham the Commission will promote fundamental freedoms, basic human rights, intersectionality, equity, economic prosperity, and a strong foundation for all who live here to thrive.”
The Commission, under the Spicer proposal, would be comprised of “Eleven members, nine members residing within each of Framingham’s districts, with two representing another district, the business, or non-profit community. Members shall serve in a volunteer capacity for two years on staggered terms. Members are appointed by the Mayor and submitted to the City Council for approval. In the event a member from each district is not available, a member residing in another district may serve.”
“The Mayor and the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer will serve as ex-officio officers,” to the Commission under the proposal.
According to the proposal, the duties of the Commission would be to:
- Advise the Mayor and city agencies on issues impacting women and families
- Identify specific problems and develop solution strategies; including identify local policies, or practices, that contribute to inequality and work to eliminate and/or counter them;
- Convene events, activities, listening sessions, and discussions to learn issues, educate, raise awareness, and advocate for change;
- Design special programs to aid women and families;
- Encourage more civic participation by women and people of color by removing barriers;
- Collaborate with the Mayor, city leadership, municipal boards and committees, city council, and local entities to address areas of inequity;
- Partner with neighboring communities, local organizations, groups, and related boards
and committees to expand outreach and impact;
- Develop metrics by which to track and report progress through analytics, or other measurement
- Recognize, celebrate strength, contributions, and success;
- Advocate, communicate Women and Minority Owned Businesses (WMOB) and job opportunities adding to the economic development of Framingham
○ Workforce solutions and resources
○ Childcare solutions and resources
The City Council only has about 3 meetings scheduled until the legislative session ends on December 31.
If the City Council does approve the proposal in December, a call would go out to advertise the new 11 Commissions for 30 days, before they could be nominated by the Mayor.
With that in mind, it would be the Mayor-elect Charlie Sisitsky and not current Mayor Spicer who would appoint the first Commission.
Spicer lost her bid for a second term on November 2.