*By Derek McLean
Wellesley resident Victoria A. Budson has been elected to serve as chairwoman of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women after being appointed to the panel by Governor Deval Patrick last year.
Budson is the founder and has been the executive director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program. Founded in 1996, the program focuses on trying to close gender gaps across the globe.
“Victoria Budson has a long track record of advocacy for women’s rights and equality,” said Governor Patrick in a press release from the commission. “She will be a terrific chairwoman, and I look forward to her leadership of the commission. She brings passion, experience and expertise to the role, and I will be counting on her to help guide the commission’s work in the months and years ahead.”
The commission is an independent state agency created in 1998 to advance Massachusetts women to full equality in all areas of life and promote their rights and opportunities.
The panel is made up of 19 members who are appointed by the governor, Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to strengthen the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by improving the equality and status of women,” said Budson in the release. “I look forward to working with the members of the Commission, the local and regional commissions throughout the state, Governor Patrick and the Legislature to lead us toward the realization of gender equality.”
Budson holds an MPA from the Kennedy School and a BA in sociology and women’s studies from Wellesley College. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Research on Women, and has served as an adviser to the United Nations.
Linda Cavioli, the outgoing chairwoman of the commission, said: “I think Victoria is a great choice to lead the Commission during the next year as we look to strengthen our position in partnership with other regional commissions and raise our voice on behalf of women in the Commonwealth.”