An abuse survivor
A business owner
Listening to the four females of the Boston City Council at this Tuesday’s Boston Chamber Women’s breakfast was a moment of political harmony. Michelle, Ayanna, Annissa, and Andrea sat elbow to elbow (smiling) and explaining their motivations to run, their personal policy priorities, and their analysis of the City’s anticipated legislative agenda. Politico’s Lauren Dezenski asked about Annissa and Michelle’s roles as business owners and another question touched on the national political landscape since the November election.
Although these details were informative as a government relations professional, it is their understanding of their shared perspective as women which has undoubtedly fostered the chemistry and partnership between this “Fab 4”. When Lauren perceptively asked how their kinship formed, Councilor Pressley provided this insight: “Women don’t have the luxury of being just a business owner or a mother or a teacher or a survivor, we govern with our whole human experience”. In short, they use the complexities of womanhood to build dialogue and understanding across issues and constituencies.
One example was their response to the city’s struggle with homeless. Striving for solutions, these four women legislators organized a hearing which didn’t just bring together housing experts, but pay equity advocates, mental health professionals, and BPS thought leaders, recognizing that homelessness is an issue that won’t be solved until we understand how it permeates all our institutions.
Gender studies experts often remark on women being defined by roles: caregiver, mother, etc. The women of the City Council are using these inherent roles to solve challenging policy. Ultimately, womanhood is leading them to a higher level of constituent engagement, collaboration and problem solving.
As Harriet Beecher Stowe put it best, “women are the real architects of society” and the women of the Boston City Council are demonstrating this every day.