Continuing the Fight for Women’s Equality ~ IN YOUR CORNER with STATE AUDITOR DIANA DIZOGLIO

By: MA State Auditor Diana  DiZoglio – 3/24

Happy Spring, Valley Patriot readers!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m a big fan of spring – mostly because this time of year very much reminds me of my overarching goal as your State Auditor: that each day should bring a little bit more sunlight!

Let’s also take a moment, coming out of March – which was Women’s History Month – to celebrate the strength, resilience, and remarkable achievements and contributions of women!

Recognizing successes are important, but, so too is reflecting on the challenges – both past and present – of how much more work remains.

I reflect often on my office’s duty to ensure every person has a fair shake, no matter our family background, bank balance, zip code, or – yes – their gender.

Here’s a look at a few of the issues we’re tackling to support women in their continued fight for equality:

* Despite all the progress we’ve seen, there are still significant and unfair gender disparities persisting in the workplace. That’s why many of my office’s audits are prioritizing a review of pay equity. A 2023 study from the Boston Women’s Workforce Council showed a gender gap of approximately $24,000 in average base compensation between men and women.

That same study found that, on average, men’s performance pay was 3x that of women.1 It would seem this disparity exists for no other reason than the difference in gender. I will continue to use my role to ensure we recognize agencies that have made significant advances in pay equity, while recommending changes for those state entities with more work to do. We encourage all business owners to consider this issue and take steps to ensure pay equity.

* Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) paid for with taxpayer dollars are an inappropriate use of public funds. All people – women included – deserve a workplace free of violence, abuse, harassment, and discrimination; and one where perpetrators of such acts are held accountable. My team’s audits seek to review and report on state agencies’ policies regarding the past and present use of taxpayer funded settlement agreements with nondisclosure clauses. It is unacceptable for our tax dollars to continue to cover up abuse in government.

* One area where we can all make a difference is in supporting women-owned businesses. Many of you may not be familiar with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), which we are currently auditing; their role is to ensure that diverse businesses (women, veteran, minority, service-disabled veteran, disability, and LGBT-owned) have equitable access to state contract opportunities and awards. Reporting from the SDO shows that only a small fraction of the billions awarded in state contracts is awarded to women. This evidences a glaring gap in opportunity and access to state contracts for women-owned businesses. Our current audit of the Supplier Diversity Office will help ensure that it’s delivering on its mission as effectively as possible. Moreover, in our other state agency audits, we will examine whether agencies are supporting and contracting with vendors registered with the Supplier Diversity Office, to ensure that diverse Massachusetts business owners have an equitable piece of the pie.

* The YWCA reports that nearly 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lives.2 Moreover, they report that over 4,000 people in Massachusetts are sexually assaulted each year. These statistics are significant when reflecting on our recently completed audit of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), finding approximately 1/3 of incarcerated offenders were never assigned a sex offender level prior to their release. In fact, an offender was released on average 170 days before being assigned a level – with the longest delay taking over 700 days. We all expect SORB to do its job – to promote public safety by educating and informing the public to prevent further victimizations. SORB is charged with registering and classifying convicted sex offenders so that the public understands the risk in their community, and offenders’ risk of re-offense and the danger they pose. SORB’s lax oversight puts everyone at risk. I will continue to ensure that the state agencies responsible for our safety are held accountable.

Through each of our audits and investigations, my team works tirelessly to promote accountability, transparency, accessibility, and equity in government – ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly and effectively.

Please join with me in taking a moment to recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of advancing women’s rights – for our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, and neighbors.

Thank you, friends, for staying informed and paying attention. Yours in service, Diana.

PS. Want to be part of our work or learn more about all that we’re doing? Please contact my office via email at or by phone at 617-727-2075.

And if you’re ever in the State House, I hope you’ll stop by and visit our team in room 230! ◊