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A letter from CEO Cherita Ellens
At this time last year, I was deciding if Women Employed was the right next move for my journey. If you were right for me, and more importantly if I was the right person for you. And, here we are 10 months later, both evolving into better versions of ourselves. Together.

I want to thank all of you for being a part of the Women Employed family, however you are connected. I thank you for your commitment, advocacy, partnership, and steadfast support. This past year, we have realized some hard-fought victories for women, girls, and families. But of course, we are far from done.

"I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back." ― Malala Yousafzai

I also want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my colleagues the Women Employed staff. It is on your shoulders that we carry the fight for all women, including the women often forgot or marginalized. Your diligence, dedication, compassion and care are an inspiration to me. Thank you.

Looking forward to 2020, the start of a new decade, we will remain focused on our priorities to influence systemic change to close the economic equity gap for all women, by:

  • Advancing gender equity in the workplace
  • Improving job quality for all workers
  • Strengthening pathways to family sustaining wages, and
  • Making college affordable, accessible, and equitable for all

I am grateful for the privilege to be leading this great organization and look forward to our work together until every working woman reaches parity and can achieve her aspirations for herself and her family. 

I wish you and your families good health, joy, warm memories, and peace now and into the new year.

With gratitude,
Cherita Ellens, CEO
Take Action Today!
A Reflection on Women Employed in the 2010s
We are just a few days away from entering a fresh decade! Over the past 10 years, Women Employed has played a vital role in the improvement of the lives of workers and students on various levels, near and far. Take a moment to hear from Women Employed staff who have been strongly advocating and pushing for change from 2009-2019!

"In more than a decade at WE (where has the time gone??), we have truly grown together. We have both expanded our understanding of feminism, inclusivity, and intersectionality, recognizing that white, cis women and our needs have dominated feminism for too long—and realizing that we’ve only just begun the never ending fight for inclusive, intersectional policy-making. And we’ve grown while making positive change: the highest level of MAP funding ever, #MeToo and anti-harassment workplace policies, paid sick days in Chicago (and statewide soon too!), and so much more. If the next 10 years look like the last 10, our future is bright!" - Sarah Labadie

"During the last decade we’ve fought for and won some incredible victories that are making a difference for millions—a law fighting pregnancy discrimination, paid sick time for Chicagoland workers, protected and increased financial aid funding, programs to help adult students succeed in college. And we’ve also seen huge organizational transformation—we said farewell to our longtime Executive Director and welcomed a new CEO, we rolled out a rebrand, we launched TWO new websites! It’s been a privilege to be part of WE during such a pivotal time and I’m excited for what the 2020s will bring!" - Judy Miyashita

Although we've grown as an organization we have so much more to do. We're constantly evolving and we thank you for being on this journey with us!
We Look Forward to Continuing To
Make Progress in the Decades to Come!
We've got big plans in store for the next decade! With all of the progress we've won over the course of this current decade, we still realize that we have so much more to accomplish! We are kicking off the new decade on the mission to secure some huge wins by the close of 2020. Our priorities will include:

For many adults, the cost of college is a significant barrier to accessing and completing a degree or credential. Two-thirds of adult students who drop out of college do so because they do not have the money to continue. Nationally, women carry two-thirds of the United States’ $1.4 trillion in student debt.
Making college affordable must be a top priority .

The post secondary system is not set up well to serve the realities of a non-traditional student’s daily life. All students should be able to find education and training programs that address their specific needs and adequately support them in attaining their desired credentials, whether that be a degree or certification.

There are more than 76 million women in the civilian labor force, but their wages, benefits, and experiences vary widely. State and cities—including Illinois and Chicago—have raised the minimum wage, but even now, not all workers are included, with tipped workers still getting a smaller minimum wage. Furthermore, over 40 percent of all working people—and 80 percent of the lowest-paid working people—do not have access to a single paid sick day. Only 15 percent of working people in the U.S. get paid family leave through their employers and one-third of working people do not qualify for even unpaid family and medical leave. Every worker should have adequate pay and access to paid leave.

The benefits of a diverse workforce are clear: A stronger bottom line. Yet our systems in the U.S. were not developed to support women workers, particularly women of color, and, as a result, often have damaging effects.  Here's the reality: A job cannot be a good job for unless it is a fair job for women.

Workers deserve to earn a fair wage and to be able to take time off to heal themselves or ill loved ones. Students deserve learning opportunities that allow them to advance their education and see them thrive.

We are excited to continue our mission but we cannot do it without you!

THANK YOU for your support!

Upcoming Events
Women Employed is always hosting or supporting events that align with our mission. Check out some of our upcoming events and head to our events page to learn more and RSVP!

Upcoming Events

02/04 - Advocacy On Tap

05/14 - The Working Lunch

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