Chicago Foundation for Women Releases New Data on Status of Women and Girls in Chicago
August 14 2019

Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) today released new data on the status of women and girls in Chicago. The report (available for download at looks at eight key indicators of women’s equity, as identified in McKinsey Global Institute’s 2016 The Power of Parity report: labor force participation, higher education, corporate leadership, political representation, unpaid caregiving, female-headed households, teen birth rate, and violence against women. According to McKinsey Global Institute, if Chicago were to match best-in-class standards of gender parity, it would grow the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $58 billion by 2025.

“Chicago Foundation for Women has been investing in gender equity for more than three decades,” said Felicia Davis, President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women. “Being able to track our region’s shared progress toward gender equity is fundamental. How can we know where we need to go if we don’t know where we are and where we have been?”

CFW will present highlights of the data to an audience of more than 300 Chicago leaders this evening at Harold Washington Public Library at 6 p.m., alongside Heartland Alliance’s 2019 Poverty Report and the New Deal for All Chicago Women and Girls, presented by Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia.

From 2016 to 2017, the Chicago region saw increases in women’s higher education attainment, labor force participation, and representation in corporate and political leadership. However, when broken down by race and ethnicity, gaps in women’s labor force participation and leadership emerge, with women of color joining the labor force and achieving leadership roles at lower rates compared to white women. On the whole, women continue to be paid less than men, while spending one and a half times as much time on unpaid caregiving – which includes child care, elder care and domestic work – compared to men, adding up to a full extra day of work each week.

According to data from the Chicago Police Department, violent crime against women increased in 2017, at an average of 19 incidents of violence against women per day. These crimes disproportionately impact women of color, with Black women making up the majority of victims across the board. Black women accounted for 80 percent of survivors of human trafficking and 75 percent of homicide victims in Chicago in 2017.

The proportion of households headed by single women and the teen birth rate both declined slightly. Just under one in three households is headed by a single woman. Women are nearly four times more likely to find themselves the primary breadwinners and caregivers for their family compared to men – approximately 8.4% of households in Chicago are headed by single men.

“At CFW, we do what we can every day to drive change and continue to close the gap for women and girls, not just waiting for ‘next year’ or the ‘next election,” said Davis. “We call on individuals of all genders and organizations to join us in this effort – for companies to pay women an equal wage for work being done at the same level as their male counterparts, for the Chicago Police Department to develop a task force that devotes more resources toward crimes against women and more.”

CFW provides annual updates on the state of gender equity in the Chicago region as part of The 100% Project, an all-in, all-out effort to end gender bias in the Chicago region within a generation, launched by CFW in 2015. Data analysis on this report was conducted by Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning. The full report is available for download at


About Chicago Foundation for Women: Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. CFW funds organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence and lack of access to health care and information. Last year, CFW invested $2.8 million in 117 organizations, leveraging the generosity of 2,700 donors, impacting 50,000 women and girls in our region. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources and develop solutions. Learn more at