FAQ from the Community

Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve heard over the years from the community. If the questions below do not answer your questions, please contact us via email and we’re happy to help!


What is the Boston Women’s Workforce Council?

The Boston Women's Workforce Council is a public-private partnership between the City of Boston under Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Administration and Boston University dedicated to closing the gender wage gap. The primary work of the Council is the 100% Talent Compact, an agreement with over 250 area companies to better understand and work to close gaps in pay and representation. Learn more.


What is the Council’s mission?

The Council’s mission is to work with the Greater Boston business community to eliminate the gender-based wage gap, remove the visible and invisible barriers to women’s advancement, and ensure that 100% of the talent pool is used to make Boston the best area in the country for working women. Learn more.


What are the benefits of signing the compact?

Companies who sign the Compact have the distinction of being identified as leaders in the Boston community in advancing Mayor Walsh's commitment to make Boston the best city in America for working women. In addition to joining a network of Boston's biggest and most innovative employees, signers are also included in major public events and communications of the Boston Women's Workforce Council. Signers will also have the opportunity once a year to participate in a discussion with the Mayor concerning their experience as a Compact signer and their ideas to reach gender equity in the Boston Workforce. Companies who sign the Compact are also given the unique opportunity to discuss and learn the best strategies to reduce the wage gap from other Compact signers and executives who are responsible for impactful business practices at the Best Practices Conference hosted by the BWWC and the Mayor.

The BWWC publishes a biennial public report that anonymously compares Compact signers' performances in closing the wage gap with other metropolitan Boston employers. Signers help shape the data collection and analysis process by working with the Council to determine which factors are important for their company's performance evaluation. With internal examination of their own wage and salary information, singers generate valuable data to guide management decisions in hiring, promotion, pay, and profession development investment. Learn more.


How will data be collected to ensure privacy and care? 

The BWWC's first commitment is to ensure privacy and security of the Compact signer organization's data. As a result, the BWWC takes multiple measures to ensure this occurs:

Aggregate data: The BWWC has chosen to collect data in the aggregate, as opposed to collecting data about individual employees. This means that the data is submitted in totals of employee information. For example, compensation data is submitted as "Total Annual Compensation" for selected employees, as opposed to each individual employee's annual compensation. As Compact signer information is collected, all of these totals are added together, and the analysis will be completed with the total of all Signatory employee information.

Created a new software program: Over the past two years, the BWWC has consulted global experts in human resources, technology, data security, computer science, and corporate law in order to create a collection system that guarantees anonymity and security of the companies and their information. 

Encryption Method: In creating the software program, the staff and programmers employed an encryption method that ensures the privacy and security of employee information. The program immediately disguises any submitted information with what is called a "pad"-- a very large random number that will disguise any values that are submitted. These pads are discarded when all the information is totaled, effectively erasing any trace of where the data originated but leaving all totaled Signer data for analysis. 

Signer Pool: The results of the analysis will be completely anonymous for Signer companies. Since the data is collected in the aggregate, the analysis will be written about all signer organizations as as subset of companies within Boston.

Learn more.


Why do we pay for membership dues?

The BWWC is a public-private partnership that is business-led and completely funded by our private sector members. We use these membership dues to pay the salaries of our employees and consultants, as well as develop and maintain the software system we designed for data analysis. Membership dues also guarantee complimentary tickets to our annual Best Practices Conference for each signing company/organization. 

Like many other Boston-area organizations, membership dues are tiered based on number of employees that particular company or organization has in the greater Boston area. We are willing to make exceptions to small companies or nonprofits that are unable to afford dues. Learn more.

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Why are we reporting data?

When signing onto 100% Talent: The Boston Women’s Compact, Signers commit to taking concrete, measurable steps to close the gender wage gap, including reporting employee data to the BWWC. This year’s analysis will serve as a baseline for Signers. This snapshot will show a quick picture of what is happening within Signer companies at an aggregate level, and its name describes the point-in-time nature of the design.

Additionally, this is the first time in the United States that data of this nature has been collected. While data regarding employee positions, gender, and race are widely available and are reported annually to the federal government by some companies, compensation data is not collected in conjunction. As a result, this publication will take an unprecedented step on measuring and eliminating wage inequity, with our Signer organizations at the forefront of the efforts. View our full reports.


What data are you asking for?

The data to be reported is demographic and compensation information about full-time employees working in locations in the Greater Boston area. To collect this information, the BWWC has been working off of existing reporting forms, in order to increase ease of reporting for Signer organizations who already report. Using the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission’s EEO-1 form as a foundation, the Council is asking for numbers of employees of each race, gender, and job category, defined by the EEOC. In addition, the Council is also asking for detail about salary, cash bonus, and employees’ length of service in the organization. Learn more.


How will the data be collected to ensure privacy and care?

The BWWC's first commitment is to ensure privacy and security of the Signatory organization's data. As a result, the BWWC is taking multiple measures to ensure this occurs:

Aggregate data. The BWWC chose to collect data in the aggregate, as opposed to collecting data about individual employees. This means that the data will be submitted in totals of employee information. For example, compensation data is submitted in "Total Annual Compensation" for selected employees, as opposed to each individual employee's annual compensation. As Signatory information is collected, all of these totals will be added together, and the analysis will be completed with the total of all Signatory employee information.

Created a new software program. Over the past three years, the BWWC has consulted global experts in human resources, technology, data security, computer science, and corporate law in order to create a collection system that guarantees anonymity and security of the companies and their information. 

Encryption Method. In creating the software program, the staff and programmers are employing an encryption method that ensures the privacy and security of employee information. The program will immediately disguise any submitted information with what is called a "pad"-- very large random numbers will disguise any values that are submitted. These pads will be discarded when all the information is totaled, effectively erasing any trace of where the data originated but leaving all totaled Signatory data for analysis. 

The results of the analysis will be completely anonymous for Signatory companies. Since the data will be collected in the aggregate, the analysis will be written about Signatory organizations as as subset of companies within Boston. Learn more.


How do I prepare for the 2019 pay gaps measurement effort?

You can learn everything about this year’s reporting cycle by viewing this document.


If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at team@bostonwomensworkforcecouncil.org