Forging Ahead in 2019
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Resolving to Make Change in 2019

Women Employed Legislative AgendaDid you make New Year’s resolutions? So did WE. In 2019, we’re determined to make Illinois a national leader on issues that impact working women and their families every single day. This year, we’re fighting for policies in Illinois that will ban employers from asking for salary history during the hiring process, raise the minimum wage and abolish the sub-minimum tipped wage, give Illinois families access to paid sick time and paid family and medical leave, fully fund financial aid for low-income students, and narrow the race gap in higher education.

Last week, Illinois inaugurated a new governor, and that presents new opportunities for progress. So we’re not holding back. Women Employed is forging ahead, working with Governor Pritzker and our state lawmakers to win victories that will lead to economic advancement and improve access to education for women and families.

Read our full 2019 agenda for change and how you can help make it a reality »

p.s. Want to follow along on our path to victory? Join us for Advocacy on Tap on February 4th to pick up your activism poster and track the triumphs we win together. Keep reading for more event info!


Join Us For Advocacy on Tap

Join Us For Advocacy on TapWomen Employed's young women’s activist group, the Advocacy Council, invites you to join us for a night of live music at Lagunitas Taproom featuring Chicago’s all-female Beastie Boys tribute, She’s Crafty! Join us to raise a glass and raise funds for gender equity, as 100 percent of net proceeds from all tickets and beer sales will benefit WE's mission to advance gender equity in the workplace.

Date: Monday, February 4th

Time: 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
(Band @ 6:30 p.m.)

Location: Lagunitas Taproom
2607 W 17th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Tickets: 1 for $15, 2 for $25,
includes heavy appetizers 

Get your tickets today »
Chicago's Mayoral Race: Learn About the Candidates

Women's Mayoral ForumWith the 2019 Chicago Mayoral elections quickly approaching, it’s important to know where the candidates stand on the issues so we can make informed choices at the polls.

WE will be joining our partners, The Chicago Women Take Action Alliance, in hosting a FREE Women’s Mayoral Forum on February 2nd. This event will give the community an opportunity to hear the stance of the candidates running on issues important to women.

Date: February 2
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Chicago Temple, 77 E. Washington

Participating candidates will be announced closer to the date of the event.
Tickets are free, but registration is required for entry. Get more information about the Women’s Mayoral Forum and how to register »
She Says: Shirlondra Brooks

Shirlondra BrooksThroughout our 45th anniversary year, WE are highlighting the generations of women who’ve been impacted by our advocacy for gender equity.

Not only is Shirlondra Brooks WE’s Senior Program Manager on the Education and Training team, she’s also a mom who instills the importance of advocacy into her children. 
How did you begin your journey in advocacy?
I started my career in the non-profit sector—specifically workforce and development, working in underserved communities. While working to connect individuals and families to systems and institutions to improve their quality of life, I discovered the gaps in resources, services, and community engagement. I advocated to remove labels “poor” and “homeless,” which in many ways replaced the identity of those experiencing a temporary hardship.

How did you introduce your kids to the world of advocacy?
I always made sure they knew how important it is to stand up for themselves and their peers if they’re ever discriminated against because of their differences in looks, beliefs, or thoughts. Every year my children and I participate in the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Hunger Walk. The first time they participated, they were around 11 and 12 years old. It was their first experience as volunteers and my daughter cried tears of joy at how beautiful it was to see so many people come together and support such a cause. My son mentioned how it caused him to really feel for those who go without a hot meal on a regular basis.

Shirlondra's KidsSince then, what are some ways your children have continued being advocates?
Both are now in college and are still going strong on the path of advocacy. My daughter, a nursing major, strongly advocates for elderly communities. And my son, also a nursing major, spends his time advocating for the safety of students on campus—particularly those in or interested in Greek organizations as it pertains to hazing. Last year my daughter also had the chance to join Women Employed at The Working Lunch. She was very impressed with all the work WE and their supporters have done throughout the years and plans to volunteer this year as well.

Would you and your loved ones like to volunteer at The Working Lunch this year on May 9th? If so, here’s where you can find more information on the event and how to participate!
Save the Date: The Working Lunch

Save the Date for The Working Lunch on May 9Join Women Employed on May 9th as we celebrate the Power of Women at The Working Lunch. You won't want to miss the energy and inspiration as 1,000 advocates and business and community leaders gather for our signature annual event.

May 9, 2019
11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Chicago 
151. E. Upper Wacker Drive

Registration opens in March. Hope to see you there!

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jessica Lawson at or 312-782-3902 ext. 225.


Policy Watch

Earlier this month, Virginia's Senate voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee all people, regardless of gender, equality of rights under the law.

The bill now goes to Virginia's House of Representatives for a vote. If the House approves the bill, Virginia will become the critical 38th state to ratify the ERA—the threshold needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.

If Virginia does ratify the ERA, it is unclear what the next step would be— Congress originally approved the ERA in 1972, and we are long past the 1982 ratification deadline that Congress proposed. However, experts argue whether setting a deadline for ratification is even constitutional.

Last year, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA, following determined advocacy by Women Employed and our partners. We are eagerly awaiting the outcome in Virginia. We'll keep you posted!

  Share This

Next week, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act will be introduced in Congress. Show your support for Equal Pay by sharing this graphic, and taking action with our partners at AAUW to urge your legislators to support paycheck fairness!

Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act


Forging Ahead in 2019


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