Women Employed Releases Strategies to Address Racial Equity Gaps in Illinois Higher Education

September 8th, 2020

Research further confirms racial inequities in college access and completion in Illinois.

CHICAGO – Illinois faces significant racial equity gaps in higher education. Only 2 of Illinois’ 12 public institutions have representative enrollment of Latino students; just 4 of 12 for Black students. Furthermore, there are completion gaps of up to 30 points for Black and Latino students compared to white students. Addressing racial equity in higher education is necessary to close persistent racial wealth gaps and ensure a diverse and reflective workforce. As a leading advocate for equity in and access to higher education, Women Employed has developed recommendations to address racial equity gaps in Illinois’ public institutions.

“The Need to Address Racial Equity in Illinois Higher Education” includes recommendations in seven key areas. Each recommendation includes individual actions that provide opportunities for inclusive conversations and the elimination of racial, gender, and economic inequities at all levels.

“The traditional college system is often challenging to navigate, especially for students of color, adult students, student parents, and students from low-income households,” said Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed. “As a graduate of one of these public institutions, it’s hard to accept the slow rate of change in the almost three decades since my attendance. With strong leadership, collaboration, and commitment, we can implement robust statewide strategies to overcome those barriers and close racial equity gaps, and we hope the recommendations contained in these briefs will inform a roadmap for that work.”

In addition to this brief, Women Employed will release a companion report in the coming weeks highlighting promising practices piloted in other states. We will also serve on the Equity Working Group convened by Chicago State University. These efforts are part of our mission to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity.

These efforts are part of our mission to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity.

Download Women Employed’s racial equity brief at https://womenemployed.org/student-success/.

###

About Women Employed: Women Employed increases economic stability and opportunities for women in low-paid jobs and for women of color by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. Since 1973, WE have relentlessly worked to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Ximena Leyte Escalante
(312) 782-3902, x227
xescalante@womenemployed.org