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Michigan Municipal League

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


Michigan Municipal League Launches 16/50 Project

Project aims to remove barriers to women serving at executive levels of local government

LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League (MML) today launched the “16/50 Project: Driving the Force of Female Municipal Managers” during the League’s 2018 Capital Conference. The project was created to highlight and bridge the gap between the percentage of women residing in Michigan, 50.8 percent, and the percentage of female municipal managers, a far lower 16 percent.

With a focus on the unique skills and challenges that women bring to and face in the profession, the 16/50 Project will work to remove barriers for women seeking the highest level of the profession, provide exclusive professional development opportunities, and foster key opportunities for a new generation of female leaders. The work can be found at and at @1650project on Twitter and Instagram.

“I am eager to be a part of the 16/50 Project and the robust programs it implements in order to place more women into executive levels of local government,” said Catherine Bostick-Tullius, Michigan Municipal League Board President and a Lapeer City Commissioner. “Having an accurate gender representation of women in local government will set a precedent for the state as a whole.”

According to the International City/County Management Association Final Report on the Status of Women in the Profession, the demographics of an organization have been shown to influence individual behavior, culture, employee health and organizational performance. A lack of gender diversity in organizations can reduce productivity and impair financial success.

“With only 16 percent of women in executive positions of local government, gender continues to be a pertinent issue with negative consequences for organizations, even with a balanced representation in non-managerial roles,” said Melanie Piana, Michigan Municipal League Board Vice President and Ferndale Councilmember. “Project 16/50 aims to reduce these discrepancies and place more women into managerial positions to foster an innovative environment so communities can thrive like never before.”

Dan Gilmartin, Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director, said that cities need to be run and designed to meet the needs of all residents, so having women in executive positions where their voices are heard and their ideas incorporated into city decisions is crucial.

“The League wants to do everything it can to remove the barriers to more women gaining executive positions in our communities, which can only make our municipalities stronger and more inclusive,” Gilmartin said.

The Michigan Municipal League recognizes the disparity in representation of women in leadership roles and the League’s unique opportunity to help clear the path for more women to hold professional local management positions in Michigan communities. Encouraging and developing strong municipal leaders is a pillar of the League, which vows to make sure women are appropriately represented and serving at the most executive levels of local government.

For additional information, contact the League’s Matt Bach, director of communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell); (734) 669-6317 (office) and

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at




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