100% Talent: How Boston is Leading the Way to Ending the Gender Wage Gap

December 01, 2014

Wage Gap

Christina Knowles, Executive Director of the Boston Women's Workforce Council, talks about the quest to make Boston the best place in the country for working women.

Complete article first appeared in Fall 2014 SOM Management Magazine

While the wage gap is getting lots of attention in the media and from politicians and CEO’s, the wage gap stubbornly remains. That nationally women make, depending on their race, between 53 and 78 cents to a white man’s dollar despite the global attention and attempts at fixing the disparity is a testament to how intractable and complex the issue is.

Boston is creating a model for the nation in the Boston Women’s Workforce Council and its groundbreaking initiative, 100% Talent: The Boston Women’s Compact. The inaugural 16-member Council, appointed by Mayor Walsh and chaired by SOM Dean Cathy E. Minehan, was tasked with making Boston the best place in the country for working women.

Women’s economic equity is one of my top priorities as Mayor of Boston,” Mayor Walsh says. “Women make up more than half of the Boston-area residents and employees, and it is unacceptable that they are making less than their male peers. The loss of income that women experience has broad impacts, extending across our City’s economy. Closing the wage gap is good for families, it’s good for the City, and it’s good for business.

To further that goal, Mayor Walsh established a partnership with the School of Management at Simmons College in order to provide the Council with the wealth of opportunities that the School of Management offers.

Mayor Walsh isn’t alone in his desire to see the wage gap closed; 54 companies, from large financial, health care, and academic institutions to tech startups and small locally owned businesses, have joined the 100% Talent Compact, and many more are expected to sign on in the next two years.

The Council will soon begin traveling across the United States to work with municipalities and their local business communities on creating a 100% Talent model that will work in their community.

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, Evelyn Murphy, commented, “There is no other city in America in which major employers have committed to work with the Mayor to eliminate their gender wage gap, share with other employers the tools and techniques they used to do so, and share their gender wage data publicly to back up their claims.

Read complete article from Fall 2014 Simmons SOM Management Magazine


The Women’s Workforce Council Core Beliefs:

  • Equity is a competitive advantage.
  • Women are one of the Region’s greatest assets.
  • When women thrive, communities thrive. 
  • The gender wage gap is about more than a difference in pay. 
  • Employer commitment is essential to closing the gap.

More information about the Boston Women’s Workforce Council can be found at Bostonwomensworkforcecouncil.com, on Twitter at @BostonWomenWork, or by contacting christina.knowles2@simmons.edu.


Christina KnowlesChristina M. Knowles serves as the Executive Director of the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. She has an extensive background in politics and legislative affairs, and has devoted her career to advancing women. Named a Top 100 Influencer by Campaigns and Elections magazine, Knowles has held a variety of roles in Massachusetts politics, including serving as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators in the State House and as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women.