Women’s Rights

Moderator

Jacqueline Cooke, Regional Administrator, Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

Jacqueline Cooke is the Regional Administrator for Region I of the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, and the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 2.  The Women’s Bureau is the only federal agency devoted exclusively to promoting the rights and interests of working women.   Headquartered in Boston, Region I is comprised of the six New England states; Region 2 is based in New York City and comprised of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  As Regional Administrator, Ms. Cooke is responsible for assisting in the development of national policy and the creation of regional programs.

During her tenure as Women’s Bureau Regional Administrator, Ms. Cooke has developed programs and projects in partnership with educational institutions, state and local governments, employers, unions, and community based organizations on issues of concern to working women including workplace flexibility and leave, nontraditional careers, apprenticeship, childcare and wages.  She holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Tufts University and a Masters Degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin.

Panelists

Cynthia Mark, Chief of Fair Labor Division, Massachusetts Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Cynthia Mark is Chief of the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.  In this position, she oversees the Fair Labor Division’s enforcement of state laws that protect workers, including minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, child labor laws, as well as Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Time Law.  In 2016, she oversaw the launch of the AG’s Wage Theft Clinic.  The Fair Labor Division doubled its assessed restitution and tripled penalties in her first two years.

Ms. Mark began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services.  For ten years, she was the managing attorney of GBLS’s Asian Outreach Unit serving Asian immigrant clients with multiple barriers to accessing the legal system.  Ms. Mark has advocated for the rights of thousands of low-wage immigrant workers.  She was also instrumental in the enactment of Boston’s bilingual ballots law in 2014 which primarily benefit elderly Chinese and Vietnamese speaking voters and contributed significantly to increase voter turnout.


Edwidge Lafleur, Director – Eastern Massachusetts Center for Women & Enterprise

Edwidge Lafleur is the Director of the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) – Eastern Massachusetts. She joined CWE back in 2013 to support the organization’s growth and its successful delivery and administration of
competitive and innovative programs for women, minority and low income entrepreneurs in the greater Boston area.

Edwidge has over 25 years of experience in business/economic development, and project management working for organizations such as Harvard Medical International (HMI), and Action Aid. She is also a former entrepreneur who effectively launched and managed 2 businesses. She holds a degree in Development Economics and International Relations from the University of Miami. She’s fluent in 4 languages: French, English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.