WE played an instrumental role in two major national victories—the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which helped victims of discrimination find recourse; and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allowed workers to take job-protected leave. WE brought attention to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and launched a program to help employers prevent it. WE also worked with community colleges to enable more women to explore careers in HVAC repair, electronics, and other higher-paying technical fields.

In his first executive order after taking office, IL Gov. George Ryan established a Commission on the Status of Women, and appointed then-Executive Director Anne Ladky as one of 25 members. The group’s central task was to develop and encourage solutions to women’s economic concerns.

WE established a ground-breaking collaboration of employers, federal officials, and women’s and civil rights organizations to develop effective EEO strategies. The collaboration received the Exemplary Public Interest Contribution award from the U.S. Department of Labor.

WE launched Working Partnerships, a program to assist employers in preventing sexual harassment and other workplace problems.

Throughout the 1990s, our Career Links program brought together girls from Chicago’s low-income communities with professional women who provided career-related guidance and support. The program introduced girls to a wide range of non-traditional careers, offering one-on-one sessions with women in occupations such as railroad engineer, biochemist, diesel mechanic, police officer, and more. Over the years, the program helped hundreds go on to college and good careers.

WE worked with a national coalition to win passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which established the right of employees to take job-protected leave for illness or care of a new baby.

WE launched the Technical Opportunities Program, worked with community colleges to enable more women to pursue technical occupations, and published the Women’s Guide to Technical Careers to help women explore these opportunities.

WE testified before U.S. House and Senate committees on the impact of discrimination and the limitations of available remedies. Our research, testimony, and organizing helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which strengthens penalties for intentional discrimination.

Together, we will ensure more women, families, and communities can build their economic power and thrive.

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