Last week, we marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day—which symbolizes how far into 2022 the average Black woman must work to earn what a white man did in 2021. NINE extra months. Latina/x women won’t get their equal pay day until December.

These punishing pay gaps are no accident. They are systemic—a legacy of slavery and of discrimination. And they impact not just women, but whole families and communities. They mean fewer resources to cover the basics, to manage emergencies, and to build wealth. In fact, for every $1 owned by single white men, single Black and/or Latina/x women own just nine cents.

At Women Employed, we are committed to removing barriers to economic equity for women, and we’re working to close the wealth gaps faced by women—particularly by those in low- or unpaid work and Black and/or Latina/x women.
Entrepreneurship = Economic Freedom

Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, with Latina/x women close behind, and 54 percent of women with side hustles report adding over $500/month to their income.

But unsurprisingly, Black and Latina/x women face higher hurdles when accessing information or capital for their businesses. So, Women Employed has developed a hub that aims to address those barriers by pulling entrepreneurship resources from around the State into one place. This week, we launched the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (WE Hub), a first-of-its kind entrepreneurship hub centering women who are Black and/or Latina/x, and in low- unpaid work, which: 

  • Gathers valuable resources and events from trusted partners in the entrepreneurship space throughout Illinois in one convenient place.
  • Raises awareness about opportunities for grants, loans, and other timely capital-raising opportunities. 
  • Creates curated toolkits to guide women on their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Collects feedback on resources used by women in hopes of utilizing a feedback loop with partners that will collectively grow the impact of services.
Looking to start or grow a business? Visit the WE Hub, create an account, and get started on your own journey today!

Want to support this work? Contact me at to learn how!

Thanks for your support!

Ibie Hart
Director of Business Development
Know Your Rights to Equal Pay
We all deserve to be paid fairly and equitably for the work that we do. Yet, women in the U.S. who work full-time, year-round are paid only 83 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. The barriers are greater for Women of Color, who have even wider wage gaps due to both gender and racial bias, and for women in low-paid jobs who are struggling to make ends meet.

This month, we marked Moms Equal Pay Day on September 8th, and Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on September 21. Both days call attention to the fact that women in this country still face huge pay disparities. And our country’s damaging legacy of enslaving Black people—paired with sexism and outdated expectations around who performs care work and how that work is valued—results in much wider gaps for many of us. The stark reality is that moms make just 58 cents on average compared to dads. And Black women make just 64 cents on average compared to white men, when looking at both full- and part-time workers.
For nearly 50 years, Women Employed has been fighting to make work work for more people―and that includes ensuring more women are paid fairly.
Know your rights to equal pay and pay transparency! The law protects you against pay discrimination, and we want to ensure you have the information you need to advocate for yourself. Visit our resource page to learn more about your rights under the law, and what to do if you feel your rights have been violated.
WE Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month! It’s a month where we celebrate the contributions, culture, and achievements of individuals whose heritage is rooted in Latin American countries.
At Women Employed, one way we are working to ensure that Latina/x women achieve their dreams is by increasing racial equity in higher education. In Illinois, Latina/x students are under-represented in public higher education. This year, alongside our partners, we won a historic $122 million increase in funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides need-based grants to Illinois students. More than half of the undergraduates at Illinois public universities who identify as Black or Hispanic receive MAP grants, so this increase in funding will help even more of those students reach their educational goals.

Click the button below to learn more about how we are advocating for racial equity and student success.
Silenced No More
Join Women Employed on Thursday, October 6, 2022 for a conversation with leaders and advocates about how the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act―first introduced by Congresswoman Bustos― restores power to survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and how this law provides survivors the opportunity to seek justice and public accountability in the light of day.

Guests will learn more about what this new law means, how it impacts them, and their rights to pursue justice and seek the legal remedy that works best for them.

• Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, U.S. Rep, IL-17
• Cherita Ellens, President and CEO, Women Employed
• Tanuja Gupta, Technologist and Activist
• Carrie Ward, Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA)

Registration is required for this free, in person event. Click here to register. 

Registration 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Program 9:00-10:00 a.m. 
Networking 10:00-10:30 a.m.  

1 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2000 (20th Floor Conference Center), Chicago, IL, 60601 
"She Says" with Laura Luckman Kelber
Giving is something that comes easy to long-time Women Employed donor, Laura Luckman Kelber. Being the daughter of a former Cook County Judge, she always had a passion for social justice and community politics. With dreams of one day becoming a senator, Laura had a change of heart and decided to follow a more creative path. One that led her to obtain an MBA instead of a law degree, venture into advertising and later marketing, where she is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Double Good. And while she has seen great success throughout her career, Laura still looked for an opportunity to give back. She found that when she was introduced to Women Employed.

In this month's installment of “She Says,” Laura Luckman Kelber shares her background, why she supports Women Employed, and why others should too.

WE Are Hiring! Join Our Team!
The Senior Events and Volunteer Manager will play a leadership role in supporting the development of and driving the implementation of the organization’s strategies for external engagement opportunities, events, and volunteer management. They will lead this work while ensuring the experiences and voices of women in low-paid work, and Black and Latina/x women are present, centered, and valued.
Entrepreneurship is Economic Freedom for Women
"Entrepreneurship is freedom. It is ensuring that you can stay at home with your child(ren) when they are sick. It is having the luxury of working how long or how often you want to. It is not adhering to a specific work schedule. It is being able to go on vacation, take mental health days, and care for yourself without wondering how many sick or personal or vacation days you have left. It is the freedom of no longer feeling stuck in a job that pays the bills but offers little to no fulfillment. And it is a pathway toward economic freedom."

Join Our Next Advocacy Council Meeting
The Advocacy Council is WE’s volunteer group that meets to mobilize, advocate, inform, and “friendraise” and fundraise to advance the movement for women’s economic equality.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. To RSVP, email Mary Kay Devine at for the hybrid meeting details.
September is National Workforce Development Month
See what Women Employed is doing to ensure more women can gain the skills they need for the jobs they want through Bridge Programs and Career Foundations.

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