2010s

In just the last few years, WE have won a pregnancy fairness law in Illinois, paid sick time for half a million Chicagoland workers, and a Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois. And WE are not slowing down. WE are doubling down.

WE won’t stop advocating for change until every woman—from those who make the tips to those who make the laws—is given her due. Together with you, WE pursue equity for all.

Working with our partners, WE helped establish the Illinois Council on Women and Girls to advise legislators on the creation of laws that will impact the women and girls of the state.

WE mobilized supporters and worked with other advocates to secure ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois. The proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution would guarantee equal rights under the law for the sexes. Illinois’ passage brings it one state away from becoming a reality.

Illinois state agencies and education policymakers gave the green light to a single definition of career pathways developed by Women Employed, the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition, and the Chicago Jobs Council. 

Working with our partner organizations and the Illinois Attorney General’s office, WE advocated for legislation to protect student borrowers in Illinois. The Student Loan Bill of Rights passed, requiring loan servicers in the state to be more transparent about repayment options.

WE played a key role in winning paid sick time for half a million workers in Chicago and Cook County. WE co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Working Families, which created earned sick time recommendations for the City of Chicago. WE then led the Sick Time Chicago Coalition, which fought for passage of a city ordinance. Both the City of Chicago and Cook County passed paid sick time ordinances patterned after the recommendations, giving hundreds of thousands of Chicagoland workers the right to earn and use paid sick time. WE then launched a massive public education campaign to inform Chicagoland workers about their right, reaching more than 1 million people.

Along with our coalition partners, WE drafted a pregnancy fairness bill for Illinois, lobbied state leaders, mobilized activists, and won a major victory against workplace discrimination.

As the leading advocate for state-funded tuition assistance in Illinois, WE prevented deep cuts to those investments in the face of the state’s fiscal crisis.

WE led a growing campaign to raise the minimum wage in Illinois and collaborated with national groups to win an increase at the federal level.

WE won commitments from state leaders to implement “bridge programs” that help low-skilled adults advance to college-level courses in their chosen career fields.

WE worked with community colleges across Illinois to improve support services that help students stay in school and graduate.