On International Women’s Day, good news and bad

With the White House currently home to a president who bragged about his serial sexual predation and whose lawyer secretly obtained a restraining order last week to silence a porn movie actress from speaking publicly about their affair, it’s hard to conclude on today’s observance of International Women’s Day that enlightenment now prevails across the land when it comes to matters of gender equity and the role of women.

Unfortunately, the presidential behavior only stands as the most prominent proof of just how far women are from equal status nearly 100 years after they won full voting rights. Women continue to struggle in ways large and small to attain that equal standing.

Today’s Patriot Ledger reports that of the 100 highest paid city employees in Quincy, exactly one is a woman. The list is chock-full of employees of the male-dominated police and fire departments.

When it comes to the state’s political landscape, the upper echelon has become the one bright spot that actually shows a refreshing change from the status quo. One of the state’s two US senators is a woman, and four of the six constitutional offices are held by women — though we have yet to elect a woman to the top one, with Jane Swift holding the governor’s reins only after the governor she served as No. 2 resigned.

But only about one-quarter of state legislators are women. Representation of women in the Legislature has basically been flat since 2002, and if women make gains only at the rate that has occurred since 1980, the Legislature won’t see true gender parity until 2072, according to an analysis by Steve Koczela and Jake Rubenstein of the MassINC Polling Group. Changing that trajectory, they say, will require more women challenging incumbents, including in primaries against officeholders from their own party.

That is certainly one part of the storyline of the challenge Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is posing to US Rep. Michael Capuano. She says she learned from her late mother not to wait to be called on to lead.

Much of the effort to achieve equity, say advocates, starts with changes to the basic rules governing work and the economy. Paid family and medical leave and a boost in the minimum wage to $15 an hour are two measures that would make a big difference in that effort, say Nai Collymore-Henry of the the Alliance for Business Leadership and Cindy Rowe of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action.

The #MeToo movement has pulled back the curtain on sexual harassment and assault in all corners of society, and there is reason to think it may usher in a new day when it comes to those issues. The speed with which that reckoning has been occurring, and the surge of women candidates stepping forward to run for office, are hopeful signs that real progress could be achieved.

Meanwhile, there is even some welcome reckoning with the past taking place. The New York Times launched a project today in which the paper will be running obituaries of notable women whose passing, remarkably, did not at the time receive proper notice in its pages. Better late than never.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

State Rep. James Cantwell of Marshfield is leaving the House to take over as state director for US Sen. Edward Markey. (State House News Service)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Worcester City Council raises concerns about a new trend — people paving over their front and side yards to park more cars there. (Telegram & Gazette)

A junior planner in Brockton’s Planning Department tried unsuccessfully to convince the City Council to grant him a residency waiver by offering a detailed spreadsheet which he said showed living in Brockton was an economic hardship on his $59,000 salary while trying to pay off school loans. (The Enterprise)

A six-inch ceremonial key to the city of Worcester is found on Main Street in North Adams. (Berkshire Eagle)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveils a hit list of lawmakers who voted to roll back Dodd Frank financial reforms, and it includes 16 of her Democratic colleagues. (Boston Globe)

Given the ethically-challenged president she serves under, it’s no surprise that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has again been cited for violating federal laws governing the conduct of federal officials, says a Herald editorial.

Connecticut officials say they want to cut the National Rifle Association out of the state’s gun permitting process. The governor calls the pro-gun lobby a terrorist organization. (Governing)

ELECTIONS

Secretary of State Bill Galvin offers a somewhat different account of his heated phone conversation with Lawrence mayor Dan Rivera over Rivera’s endorsement of his primary challenger Josh Zakim, saying he got angry because Rivera had previously pledged to back him for reelection. Rivera contests that account. (Boston Globe)

Brendan Crighton of Lynn wins a state Senate seat in another uncontested special election that voters take a pass on. (State House News)

The Dorchester Reporter profiles Greg Henning, the third Democrat to announce he’s running for the Suffolk district attorney’s post being vacated by Dan Conley.

Joe Battenfeld sizes up the state of things for Charlie Baker’s three Democratic challengers, and says there isn’t much to give them a lot of hope (Boston Herald)

Michael Graham runs through a list of Deval Patrick’s not-such-greatest-hits as governor, missteps and controversies that he says will dog him should he jump into the 2020 presidential sweepstakes. (Boston Herald)

A Herald editorial takes a dim view of an ACLU challenge, heard this week by the Supreme Judicial Court, to the state law that cuts off voter registration for an election 20 days before Election Day.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Amazon admits some of its Alexas are laughing at their owners. (Time)

The Framingham City Council is undertaking a review of the city’s controversial sign bylaw that businesses claim is too restrictive but residents say is a needed check on controlling advertising in public spaces. (MetroWest Daily News)

EDUCATION

It’s been a rocky road of late for the state’s charter school sector. (Boston Globe)

Jeff Riley moves up the departure date from his job as receiver of the Lawrence schools as he prepares to take over as the state commissioner of education in the next few weeks. (Eagle-Tribune)

Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said he is interested in the job running UMass Boston, where he previously worked. (MassLive)

The Fall River Diocese is eliminating grades 5 through 8 at St. Margaret Regional School in Buzzards Bay at the end of the school year and will give those students the option of attending St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School in Hyannis in the fall. (Cape Cod Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Terminally ill veterans living in federally operated homes in states that allow physician-assisted suicide have to move out of the facilities if they choose to end their lives because suicide is against government policy. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION

A Globe editorial says talk of a gondola line running above Summer Street in Boston’s Seaport district merits serious consideration.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Craig Altemose of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future responds to the Boston Globe’s editorial push for new pipelines by saying new pipelines will make it impossible to meet the state’s 2050 carbon emission target. (CommonWealth)

Pilgrim nuclear power plant was shut down due to a possible leak in the water heating system and will remain down through the current storm. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A Boston IRS agent was indicted on rape and other charges. (Boston Herald)

Reports from the Winchester Police Department show that murder suspect Jeffrey Yao had a long history of erratic, threatening behavior. (Boston Globe)

A Bourne firefighter was arrested and charged with drunken driving while carrying a loaded gun in his car. (Cape Cod Times)

MEDIA

The Boston Globe is raising its print home delivery price to a whopping $1,347 a year. (Nieman Journalism Lab)

Dan Kennedy says the Globe is positioning its print newspaper as a niche product, and pursuing the only real option open to it — paid digital. (WGBH)