A letter from CEO Cherita Ellens
54 cents on the dollar. It’s a stunning disparity. And yet, that’s what the data tells us the average Latina can expect to make compared to her white male counterpart. It means she must work 11 extra months just to catch up. It means that our system is broken. It means that we must work collectively to address the systemic issues of sexism, racism, and discrimination that are leaving so many of our women marginalized. Women that are heads of household or that share equally in household earnings.

This week, on Wednesday, we mark Latina Equal Pay Day —the day when she finally “catches up.” But the truth is, she can’t truly catch up on what she’s lost. That gaping hole in her paycheck—a deficit of nearly HALF—means less food on the table, less money to pay rent or a mortgage, fewer resources to pay for tuition for her kids, and a smaller retirement fund. It’s a deficit in financial security for herself and her family. Over a lifetime, it represents a loss of over $1 million—a small (well, not-so-small) fortune. And that’s just the average. For some Latinas, the number is much higher.

With more than half of all Latinas identifying as the primary breadwinners for their families, this injustice is harming our economy, families, and communities. We must continue to fight for what we know is right. We cannot accept the status quo. And, we cannot wait.

Women Employed is fighting just as hard for pay equity now as we were in 1973. And this year, we won a major victory when we passed the No Salary History law in Illinois (you can read more on that in our Giving Thanks piece below, and download our toolkit to know your rights ). We also won an Anti-Workplace Harassment bill to combat what we know is a major contributing factor to gender inequity in the workplace.

Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” We cannot claim victory for gender equity until all women reach parity. Which means, we must be intentional about understanding and closing the gap for both African-American and Latina women because the disparity is too large.

We invite you to add your voice and advocacy to the conversation. On Wednesday, at 1:00 p.m. CT, advocates across the country will join a social media storm for pay equity, using the hashtag #LatinaEqualPay . Join in on your social media accounts and raise your voice for change! And then take action to support the federal Paycheck Fairness Act to take our No Salary History victory nationwide. Working together, we can move mountains.
Cherita Ellens, CEO
Take Action for a Fair Workplace
Join Us For Our Fall Event On Thursday, Nov 21!
We've had a year of wins in Illinois, but do you know your new rights, & how you can help can win more? Democracy is NOT a spectator sport, and knowledge is power. We've brought together a powerful panel of leaders for a vibrant conversation on the impact of participation, activism, and #EquityForAll. Walk away with everything you need to know about your new rights, and to boldly participate in democracy—including elections and Census 2020! 

JUST ANNOUNCED: Alderman Sophia King, the co-sponsor of the Raise Chicago ordinance, will also join our panel conversation!
Reflecting and Giving Thanks
2019 has been an amazing year at Women Employed and we have much to be thankful for! We welcomed our new CEO, debuted a new look, and most of all, we made legislative progress! And YOU made that possible.

  • We're thankful that, after years of advocacy, No Salary History became the law in Illinois this year. This law advances pay equity by changing the job application process to ban dreadful questions about previous or current pay. We created a toolkit to help job seekers understand their rights and employees understand their responsibilities. Download the toolkit!
  • We're also thankful for Chicago's Fair Workweek Ordinance, which we won this year. Unstable and unpredictable work schedules are a barrier to financial security for millions. This law will allow more working people in Chicago to count on predictable hours and paychecks to better support themselves and their families.
  • We also won $50 million in additional funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), a need-based grant for low-income Illinois students. We're grateful that this win will allow 7,000 additional students to access college this year alone, and will increase grants for 130,000 more.
  • And that's not all! Read more about these wins and more in our 2019 annual report.

Most of all, we are thankful for YOU. Your support, your advocacy, and your involvement make these wins possible. YOU are the key to our success! Thank you!
There's Still More to Do: Help Achieve the Vision
Although we've had a year of great success, there's still much more to do. We’re working to raise the wage for all working people . We’re fighting for paid sick time and leave for every working person in Illinois and across the country. We’re building programs that make education accessible to working adults with real pathways to better jobs and wages.  

We won’t stop advocating until every working woman is given her due. Until every aspiring student can realize her dreams.

But it’s a team effort. We can’t realize our goals without your support. Help elevate women and bring about transformative change with a gift.
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



Featuring Women Employed's Cherita Ellens, Chicago Foundation for Women's Felicia Davis, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago's Dorri McWhorter, and ABC7's Judy Hsu

02/04 - SAVE THE DATE: Advocacy On Tap
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