Women Employed to Host December 8th Webinar on Closing Racial Equity Gaps in Illinois’ Higher Education

December 7th, 2020

Event Marks Release of Two Policy Briefs on Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education

CHICAGO – Like many states, Illinois suffers from alarming racial achievement 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. If we hope to close these gaps and advance racial equity in our state, we need innovative solutions. On December 8th, Women Employed will bring together education experts for an important conversation about the gaps that exist, the importance of addressing them, and how we can advance racial equity in higher education at a statewide level.

Women Employed’s President and CEO Cherita Ellens will share our latest policy recommendations and engage in a conversation with education leaders and policymakers about successful efforts and promising practices in other states, as well as the current outlook for racial equity efforts and plans in Illinois.

This webinar will feature recommendations and promising practices highlighted in two recent white papers developed by Women Employed.

Advancing Racial Equity in Illinois Higher Education” includes recommendations in seven key areas for how Illinois can take a comprehensive approach to racial equity in higher education. Each recommendation includes individual actions that provide opportunities for inclusive conversations and the elimination of racial, gender, and economic inequities at all levels.

Our companion report, “Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education: Lessons from the States,” highlights promising plans, policies, and initiatives piloted in other states, and “includes recommendations on how Illinois can adapt or draw strategic ideas from those efforts to close racial equity gaps in Illinois’ higher education system.

“Racial equity in higher education is not only an issue of access to the education and training that can set students on a path to economic stability; dismantling barriers has the potential to have positive impacts over generations,” says Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Vice President of Policy and Organizational Impact at Women Employed. “These recommendations serve as important guideposts on the path to a just and fair higher education system and we look forward to working with Illinois leaders on removing these barriers to racial equity.”

WHAT: Charting Illinois’ Path to Higher Education Webinar

WHEN: Tuesday, December 8th. 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CT

· Jesse Ruiz, Illinois Deputy Governor for Education;
· Brandon Bishop, Policy Analyst at State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO);
· Rudyane Rivera-Lindstrom, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission;
· Moderated by Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed

RSVP to Ximena Leyte Escalante: xescalante@womenemployed.org, 312-782-3902, x227

DOWNLOAD Women Employed’s policy briefs on racial equity in higher education at https://womenemployed.org/student-success/.


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. For more information, visit womenemployed.org, or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.