By Kathleen McKiernan

In Bristol County, Fall River had the lowest rate of women in elected office, at 19 percent. New Bedford fared somewhat better with women making up 26 percent, according to an informal analysis of nine Bristol County towns by the political science department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Massachusetts ranked 24th in the nation on an index related to the presence of family-friendly work policies and measures, including paid leave, elder and dependent care supports, access to affordable child care and the gender gap in parental participation in the labor force, according to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

“These issues are connected,” said Valerie Bassett, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts.

“When women are elected, they are more likely to propose and support policies for working women, children and families.”

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