The first-in-the nation Graduate Certificate Program for Women in Politics & Public Policy was founded by Betty Taymor in 1968 at Simmons College. At that time it was called the Program for Women in Politics & Government, as it was developed to educate women about the governmental process, to encourage them to run for elective office and to guide them through the enormous obstacles of running for public office. The program moved to Boston College in 1971, where it flourished for 20 years with Betty Taymor as director. In 1992, with support from Chancellor Sherry Penney and women faculty, the program moved to the University of Massachusetts Boston, where it was renamed the Program for Women in Politics & Public Policy. Understanding and implementing public policy had moved to a prominent position and is now a focal point of the program. In addition to elective office, over 700 alums have pursued leadership roles in academia and nonprofits and have been influential in creating public policy.
In 1994, following the lead of the program and with support from the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy was established at UMass Boston. The center’s mission is to further women’s leadership by conducting research that makes a difference in women’s lives. The center serves as a resource for the empowerment of women from diverse communities. In addition to its research publications, the center hosts research forums and sponsors panels and events centered on topics central to women.
Highlights of Betty’s life include the following:
- Served as Delegate to the Democratic National Convention on multiple occasions
- Ran twice for Massachusetts State Representative
- Directed the Program for Women in Politics & Public Policy for 20 years
- Worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment
- Worked to advance women's roles in politics in a time when women all over the nation were fighting for increased rights and overall equality in all aspects of life
- Wrote Running Against the Wind: The Struggle of Women in Massachusetts Politics