An open forum will be held Tuesday night for female residents in Dedham who have an interest in taking part in local government.
The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Endicott Estate, is sponsored by Women in Democracy-Dedham (WINDD), and will feature Assistant Town Administrator Nancy Baker as the guest speaker. Baker will provide an overview of town government, including the different departments, boards and elected positions, and explain how they work together and opportunities for getting involved.
Currently, Dedham has three board vacancies open.
"The event is geared at encouraging folks to run or submit their name for appointed office," said Sarah MacDonald, a co-founder of the group who has also served for six years on the Dedham Board of Selectmen and is up for re-election this year. "I think it is very important to encourage active civic engagement in local government, and I think that's men or women, old or young."
WINDD has been focusing on encouraging women to get more involved, as women have been underrepresented at the local government level, she said.
"We've tried to kind of provide programming that encourages people to get involved, but talk about some of the underlying issues of why women don't get involved," MacDonald said.
The group formed after a conversation that took place around MacDonald's table one night, said co-founder Liz O'Donnell.
"It was women who came together and realized we had a common interest in seeing women lead in Dedham," O'Donnell said. "In the spring, we had a session where we talked about the challenges women encounter in running for office. We were in the middle of the election cycle, so we were having each woman on the ballot talk about what encouraged them to run. The goal is to demystify how it all works for people who don't necessarily know. Opportunities for getting women to run or get involved and run for office."