Monday, April 22, 2013

Somerville Women's Top Priorities

This past Thursday, the Commission for Women released the results of the citywide survey of women in the 2013 Somerville Status of Women Report on April 18 at the VNA to elected officials, commissioners, community leaders, and the public. Here is the Executive Summary of the report. 

Somerville is a vibrant place to live, work, play and raise a family. We perceive it with the hundreds of events in the City and we have survey results of Somerville women to show it.

Engagement in Somerville
The survey asked whether people if they volunteer in Somerville or out of the city. Overall, 63% of survey respondents said they volunteer with 44 percent volunteering in the City and 47% reporting that they volunteer out of Somerville. Additionally, 28% volunteered both in and out of the City and 37% did not volunteer at all. When asked why people could not volunteer, there were many answers but the largest response (38%) said they had no time while 30% of the responses said they were not aware of available activities, 30% had schedule conflicts, 29% had other work commitments, and 28% had family commitments. The survey allowed for multiple responses that fit the respondent’s reasons for not participating.

The largest number of respondents volunteering gave time to nonprofit organizations (33%) and City meetings (27%). Additionally, respondents said they voted (20%), volunteered with their religious center (13%), or volunteered specific to a culture (7%).

The respondents reported that almost three-quarters used the City’s website (72%) and half used the City’s 311 Center.

Somerville Women’s Priorities

The top three priorities women respondents listed in the city-wide survey in Somerville listing as “very important” were Safer Pedestrian Access (52%), More Public Transportation (49%), and Child Care (49%). When combining “very important” and “important,” the top three priorities slightly change to Safer Pedestrian Access (79%), More Public Transportation (77%), and Wellness Education (such as nutrition) (74%).

By category, the top Program and Services “very important” priority is Child Care (49%). The highest Education Issues “very important” priority is Wellness Education (38%). The top Policy Issues “very important” priority is Safer Pedestrian Access (52%).

In conclusion, the Somerville Commission for Women survey found 63% of respondents volunteering, 72% using the web, and 50% utilizing the 311 Call Center. Of the respondents who were not volunteering, the largest reason listed was that they had no time. Half of the respondents had children in their home with the majority with children ten or under but eight percent who had adult kids at home. The survey also found that 77% work for pay. Respondents who were volunteering largely volunteered with either a nonprofit or the City of Somerville.

The top two priorities for women are Safer Pedestrian Access and More Public Transportation.

The full report can be accessed in the SomerCommissions Google Drive and will be posted on Somerville Commission for Women's website.  Anyone interested to receive an electronic copy of the report, please email

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