Pathways to Political Leadership for Women of Color

A Research Partnership between the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Women's Pipeline for Change

About the Project

How Can Women of Color Advance to Public Leadership in Massachusetts?

Since 1972, fewer than 120 women of color have run for elected office at the municipal, county, or state level across Massachusetts. Additionally, relatively few women of color have been appointed to high-level positions in government despite demonstrated leadership and significant contributions to their communities. Ensuring that more women of color serve in public leadership positions would benefit our communities, the Commonwealth, and our system of democracy. 

The five Women’s Pipeline for Change research fellows carried out studies that address some of today’s most pressing questions about the political leadership of women of color:

  • How do family and cultural expectations affect women of color when it comes to political leadership?
  • Do limited financial resources and/or fundraising challenges pose the most significant barriers for women of color interested in seeking elective office?
  • What do women of color leaders stand to lose when entering politics?
  • What types of support should be in place for women of color in public leadership?

The result of an innovative research partnership between the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Women’s Pipeline for Change, these webpages were designed to offer resources to help women of color advance to public leadership in Massachusetts.

Mapping the Pipeline Project

Picture of Elizabeth Cardona, Fellow for Pathways to Political Leadership for Women of Color on a Google Map for the Pipeline Project

This innovative research partnership features five dynamic women of color leaders from cities all across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Boston, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Lawrence, and Springfield. Each woman leader is both deeply rooted and actively involved in her community. And each has a different story to tell about the communities they love. This map offers a glimpse into some of the places that are meaningful to them and locates them in the communities they serve and/or lead in various ways.