The Women’s Forum is excited to partner with Megan Costello, an experienced public and political manager and strategist, who will lead a feasibility study aimed at eliminating the wage gap by 2030. After graduating this past year with her MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Megan is eager to return to the work of eliminating the women’s wage gap in Massachusetts. Megan’s career has focused on advancing women’s rights, most recently as the Executive Director for the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, an office she started under the leadership of Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Megan also worked on the campaigns of Martin Walsh, Ed Markey, President Barack Obama, and Secretary Hillary Clinton. She is a former board member of the Massachusetts chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Political Action Committee and a former board member of the External Advisory Board of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston.
Megan is familiar with much of the exciting work happening for women, especially the work helping to close the women’s wage and power gap. She is looking to build on the great work being done rather than reinvent the wheel. She will be reaching out to many of you in the coming months, but if you have ideas please feel free to reach out to her.
We sat down with Megan, to hear more about her goals for the project.
Massachusetts is Ready for Change
During her time in Mayor Walsh’s office, Megan led an effort to create a national model for closing the wage gap, by working with employers, individual women, and on important legislation. Partnering with the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, she worked with employers to report real wage data anonymously. She managed the City of Boston’s partnership with the American Association of University Women to offer free salary negotiation workshops to Boston’s working women, the program has trained over 10,000 women so far. And Megan also collaborated with lawmakers and activists on Mayor Walsh’s behalf to support the passage of the equal pay act in Massachusetts. These experiences only strengthened her belief that Boston and Massachusetts are the perfect places to push big change around the pay gap, with all the momentum and support for the cause building. Boston has been leading the way. It’s time to build on that work and take this all around the State.
Women’s Equity is Good for Business
For Megan and a lot of us, eliminating the wage gap is not only about dollars and cents, but also getting more women into leadership positions. This requires asking organizations to be intentional about hiring processes and making sure they have a diverse group of candidates. Many of us have read the reports, we know the data and many businesses are interested in making changes but don’t know how to move forward. What’s stopping them? The case will be different for everyone. She hopes to help organizations look back 10 years, see where they have been, where they are now, and what their goals are for the future. Passing laws is important to create equity, but eliminating the wage gap will require changing the culture of workplaces. The initiative will need people’s buy-in. We know that when women are paid, businesses have a stronger bottom line so they question here is, “What’s stopping us from achieving it and how can we all play a role?”
Bringing Groups Together will be Crucial
Megan is excited about the prospects of bringing together organizations that have traditionally supported women and women’s causes with business, nonprofit, public sector, and community leaders, to come at the issue from multiple angles. It will be key to engage organizations like the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, the Eos Foundation, and the Commonwealth Institute that have taken the lead in data collection and reporting, and TCI, YW, and the Partnership, the Center for Women and Work, who focus on advancing women up the ranks of leadership. To name just a few. Pooling reports, resources, and strategies from these organizations will create an incredible body of knowledge and partnerships will map the way forward. Additionally, local leaders can provide insider knowledge and bring connections to the table. Megan believes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but rather find out what is happening, how we can add to it and how can we really dig in to have lasting and meaningful impact.
Powerhouse Women Leading the Way
Attending the MWF event Women Opening Doors for Women five years ago, Megan remembers looking around the room and seeing all the amazing women that have broken barriers for the next generations. She recognized that this powerhouse group, that had paved the way for women, knew that their success should not end with them. They understood the importance of positions of power for women remaining and growing, and Megan is excited to see the Forum playing a key role in leading this initiative.
Please welcome Megan.