Stonehill’s Martin Institute recently launched a new initiative, The Sylvia Donaldson Society for Women in Politics, on Monday, November 24th. There to help kickoff the new program, which seeks to empower women on campus to pursue careers in public affairs, was Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark.
The Society is named in honor of Sylvia Donaldson, a Brockton school teacher who was one of the first women to be elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 1920s. At the time, Donaldson was also active in the National Education Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Women’s Civic Federation.
The Sylvia Donaldson Society was created by students Michelle Wozniak ’15 and Michelle Dander ’15, both of whom are Political Science & International Studies majors at Stonehill. To help attract more females to careers in public affairs, the student-run Society will sponsor large-scale events, as well as provide small group programs, panels and workshops exclusively for its members.
“We believe that one reason women are so grossly underrepresented in the halls of power is because politics is still not considered a traditional woman’s career path,” said Wozniak and Dander, citing that women make up just 19% of Congress.
“Beyond that, women face several unique obstacles and challenges that men do not experience. The Sylvia Donaldson Society aims to lessen these obstacles by facilitating crucial professional and networking opportunities to women on campus. By providing these small-group opportunities students might otherwise not experience, we hope to empower the women of Stonehill College to pursue careers in public affairs.”
Sylvia Donaldson Society members will also have several exclusive opportunities to have conversations with women in political careers, including members of Congress and members of the Massachusetts legislature. The Society will also give two members the opportunity to attend the National Education for Women Leadership Conference with financial sponsorship from the Martin Institute each year.
At the recent event, Congresswoman Clark, who represents Massachusetts' 5th district, discussed her experiences as a woman navigating the field of politics. Previously, Clark served as general counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services, chief of the Policy Division for the Massachusetts Attorney General and prosecutor. She was elected in March 2008 to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and was elected to the State Senate in November of 2010.