Women Employed Named Best Place to Work

September 13th, 2023

Crain's 2023 Best Places to Work in Chicago

Crain’s Chicago Business Recognizes Women Employed in Top 25% of Employers for Commitment to Top-Tier Benefits, Diversity & Inclusion

Chicago – Women Employed (WE) today announced it was named to the Crain’s Chicago Business 2023 list of Best Places to Work. For 50 years, Women Employed has relentlessly pursued equity for women in the workforce, from shaping policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, to advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so more women, families, and communities can thrive.

Ranked 22 out of 100 employers, WE was recognized in the top 25% for its deep commitment to equity that starts in its own workplace. As a small non-profit organization of 26 staff members, WE provides top-tier benefits, prioritizes fairness and inclusivity, and is highly responsive to staff needs. To ensure they are aligned with what they advocate for, WE offers family-friendly and employee-centered benefits such as generous sick time, paid leave, vacation, and health insurance, plus hybrid work and flexible scheduling options, allowing staff to manage responsibilities inside and outside of work. The leadership team holds itself accountable for organizational culture, staff development and nurturing and supporting the overall well-being of staff.

“We couldn’t authentically pursue equity for women in the workforce without ensuring equity, inclusivity, support, and flexibility in our own workplace,” said Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed. “We believe our staff members deserve the best working environment to achieve success for themselves and our mission. We are thrilled to be recognized alongside so many other notable organizations that are doing right by their workers.”

Some of the benefits Women Employed provides to its staff members include:

  • Health insurance with 85% – 95% of premiums covered by WE;
  • A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for staff that reimburses healthcare deductible, co-pay, and co-insurance amounts above $500.
  • 12 weeks (9 fully paid) of parental leave per year;
  • Paid sick time with a generous carry-over allotment and a leave-sharing for staff who need additional paid time off;
  • Week-long paid winter break;
  • 15 days of paid vacation for new staff;
  • 10 paid holidays, including Indigenous People’s Day and Juneteenth;
  • Internet and cell phone reimbursements;
  • A 403(b) retirement plan with employee contributions, and a 401(k) plan with contributions made by WE;
  • Fully paid life insurance;
  • Options to work remotely, from the office, or hybrid, and the opportunity to work compressed and flexible schedules to best manage work and life;
  • One day per week where no internal meetings are scheduled;
  • Home office set-up stipend; and
  • Paid day of service for federal elections.

Women Employed was also recognized for its commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion. WE recently diversified its board of directors to include more than 50% women of color, recruited and retained talent to ensure women of color are represented at every rung of leadership, built a team that is represented by 58% persons of color, completed both an internal and external compensation audit to ensure equity, and formed equity and inclusion working groups to help build WE’s equity and inclusion plan.

“We know we can’t achieve true equity until every woman, no matter her background or circumstances, has the opportunity to build her economic power and improve her life,” Ellens said. “We also know that change starts from within, and we do the hard, ongoing work to foster a culture of not just inclusion, but belonging, which helps us attract and retain staff members who reflect the communities we serve, feel valued, and have the voice and power to drive our mission.”

WE’s focus on diversity and inclusion has resulted in the following:

  • Percentage of women of color on staff has grown from 38% to 58% since 2017;
  • Women of color in leadership has grown from 27% to 53% since 2017;
  • 35% of staff and 29% of leadership is a member of the LGBTQ+ community; and
  • Board Directors of color have grown from 39% to 56% since 2019, including Board executive leadership.

More information on Women Employed and its mission can be found here.


About Women Employed
Since 1973, Women Employed has worked to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity by affecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. For more information, visit womenemployed.org or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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

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