GoWomen: Changing the tune
April 04 2018

The women making history


Changing the tune

Image courtesy of New York Times Opinion.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of women and men across the Chicago region sat down to talk about gender bias and sexual harassment as part of Talk It Out: #MeToo, CFW’s annual conversation series.

Throughout the week, women bravely shared their stories, offered a compassionate ear, and brainstormed strategies for how women and men can work together to end sexual harassment. Within many different conversations, we heard common threads:

– The need to build women’s power – within organizations, personally and economically;

– Changing cultural ideas of what it means to “be a man” to emphasize empathy and supporting women and girls; and

– Teaching boys and girls the skills to build healthy relationships based on consent and respect.

While participating in one of these conversations, I was struck by the dual nature of sexual harassment as both everyday and yet, extraordinary, in the lives of women. Every woman – of all races and backgrounds, from home health aides to surgeons, high school students to chief executives – had a #MeToo story to share. But while the experience may be common, sexual harassment is trauma that leaves a mark. Years later, women remember exact words and how they made them feel – the shock, anger and shame.

#MeToo is removing the shame and stigma that kept women silent for so long. It is proving the power of women’s voices, as together we speak out and demand change.

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman has become a leading voice demanding change. After adding her voice to the chorus of young women at Larry Nassar’s sentencing, Aly is calling for institutional changes to protect future athletes, and working to end the stigma that silences so many survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

Chicago Foundation for Women is honored to welcome Aly as the keynote speaker at the 33rd Annual Luncheon and Symposium on September 18, 2018. We invite you to add your voice to the conversation.

With highest hopes,

K. Sujata
Chicago Foundation for Women



Did you lend your voice to Talk It Out? Help CFW improve future conversations – take the Talk It Out Survey by 5 p.m. Friday, April 13!



Talking about #MeToo with Kids

In Sujata’s latest piece for Medium, CFW grantee Rape Victim Advocates shares how they are talking about #MeToo, consent and personal boundaries with kids as early as kindergarten. Early lessons focus on empowering kids to set their own boundaries and expand to romantic relationships and consent as they age. Read the full story here.

Talk It Out: #MeToo

March 18-24, over 130 groups hosted Talk It Out: #MeToo conversations. The conversations represented the diversity of our region — from Edgewater to Englewood, and the Loop to Oak Park, bringing together leaders from every industry and background to talk about how our communities can work together to end sexual harassment. Journalist and author Kerry Lester joined CFW for a robust Twitter Chat, discussing how to make #MeToo an intersectional movement for all women, and how men can be actively engaged in ending harassment.

Want to share your Talk It Out: #MeToo experience? The Talk It Out Survey takes only 2 minutes, and your feedback will help shape future conversations!

2018 Impact Awards

The CFW community honored Iris Krieg, Etosha Ottey, Janice Lopez, Nadiah Mohajir, Ellen Schumer and BMO Harris Bank for their work on behalf of women and girls at the 2018 Impact Awards on March 14. The Impact Awards honors local leaders for their commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in the Chicago region by supporting basic rights and equal opportunities. Learn more about this year’s recipients in the honoree tribute video.

Celebrate Spring at CFW’s Oak Park Gathering

The annual Oak Park House Party will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. This intimate gathering brings together CFW’s closest supporters in Oak Park for a night of great food, wine and conversation on how we can direct our collective efforts to create change in our communities. The VIP Reception will feature an intimate conversation with Emily Kraiem from Women’s March Chicago. Tickets are now available! Learn more about the event here.

CFW Launches South Side Giving Circle

Last month, the South Side Giving Circle of CFW launched to invest in gender and racial equity for women and girls living in Chicago’s South Side and South Suburbs.

“As a life-long Chicagoan and South Side resident, I am deeply connected to the fabric of our South Side communities,” giving circle member Felicia Davis says. “I am excited to help lead this effort and join forces with other Black women to give back to the part of Chicago that nurtured me as a young girl and create opportunities for black women and the next generation of black girls.”

The South Side Giving Circle is a platform for women to make a collective impact and grow as philanthropic leaders.  Members of the giving circle combine their resources and utilize CFW’s rigorous grantee screening and monitoring to make effective and innovative investments in their community. The giving circle is open to women living in Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods and the South Suburbs and will accept new members for the 2018 grantmaking cycle through Monday, April 30, 2018. To learn more about the Giving Councils and Giving Circles of CFW, click here.

Board Member Boot Camp Applications Open

The spring 2018 Board Member Boot Camp application is now open! Board Member Boot Camp is a comprehensive, interactive, two-and-a-half day training and evening networking event for individuals interested in nonprofit board service. Participants gain skills in topics such as board roles and responsibilities, nonprofit financials and fundraising basics. Participants will also meet with local organizations to explore ways to begin their nonprofit board service. This training is designed for individuals with limited or no experience on nonprofit boards. Discounted early registration is open on Friday, April 20 at 5:00 p.m., and registration closes on Monday, April 30 at 5:00 p.m. Apply here.



What’s Next for #MeToo?

Ikon Images/Getty Images

Building a more inclusive #MeToo was the focus on Sujata’s latest column in Chicago Woman Magazine. With #MeToo’s Hollywood origins, low-wage women have been left out of the conversation. CFW grantee Healing to Action is centering the voices and experiences of these women, empowering workers to develop solutions to harassment and sexual violence within the labor movement. Read the full story here.

Why Talk It Out?

Local law firm Schiff Hardin LLP and Mikva Challenge, a youth-focused nonprofit, shared why they chose to host a conversation as part of Talk It Out: #MeToo with Chicago Tonight. It’s important for workplaces to have a dialogue “outside of a big scandal,” Mandy MacVey, a partner at Schiff Hardin and head of the firm’s gender diversity subcommittee, said. “The learning can be in both directions from men learning about women’s experiences and women learning about men’s experiences.” Read the full story here.

Illinois Council on Women & Girls

CFW is supporting a proposal to create an Illinois Council on Women & Girls will come before the General Assembly this spring. Kina Collins and Maaria Mozaffar visited ABC7 to talk about the coalition behind the creation of the council, and the role it will play in achieving equity for Illinois women and girls. Watch the full interview here.

Running with Kids

The conversation about what work-life balance for women actually looks like continues in Heidi Stevens’ column about Kelda Roys, a mother of two young children and candidate for Governor of Wisconsin. Writes Stevens, “I’m inspired beyond measure by the women who look around and go, ‘I’m not waiting another minute to fix this mess.’ Even if that means juggling the incredibly complicated demands of mothering young kids. Even if that means long hours on the road and a bunch of nights away from home. Even if that means breastfeeding your baby during a campaign ad.” Read the full story here.



HEART Women & Girls is Bringing Together Feminism and Islam

Muslim Women’s Day was created in 2017 by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.com, to “to celebrate Muslim women and amplify their voices.” This year, Teen Vogue celebrated Muslim Women’s Day by highlighting Muslim women working to end violence against women, including CFW grantee HEART Women and Girls (and 2018 Impact Award honoree Nadiah Mohajir). Read the full story here.

#MeToo for Women Workers

Karla Altmayer, co-founder of Healing to Action, penned an OpEd for the Chicago Sun-Times calling attention to the harassment and abuse experienced by low-wage and working women, and the importance of unions as a solution to unequal workplace power dynamics. Altmayer writes, “Hollywood actors, coming forward with their own accounts of being abused, have validated the experiences of others, but it’s thanks to unionized janitor workers in California and hotel workers in Chicago that #MeToo has its current political momentum. Until a hotel worker can get 800,000 responses to their tweet on their own, unions are an essential force to ensure that each woman worker, no matter the color of her collar, has the same culture-shifting power.” Read the full OpEd here.

Call Me by My Preferred Pronoun

Photo by Crain’s illustration.

Crain’s Chicago Business looks at the growing presence of preferred pronouns — he/him, she/her, they/them — in email signatures, name tags and everyday conversation. Kim Fountain at CFW grantee Center on Halsted, (preferred pronouns She/Her and They/Them), says attention to pronouns “honors our communities and supports our staff.” Read the full story here.

Hidden Costs of Incarceration

CFW grantee Appleseed Fund for Justice is studying how court fees and fines continue to punish low-income people and their families even after they’ve served their time. “It traps people in the cycle of debt that makes it incredibly difficult for low-income people to be able to satisfactorily complete all of these requirements and leave the system,” says Aditi Singh, an attorney with the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. Read the full story here.



ERA + Equal Pay Lobby Day: April 10

Illinois is one of fourteen states yet to ratify the Equal Right Amendment, enshrining the equality of women and men in the U.S. Constitution. The Ratify Illinois ERA coalition is part of a two state strategy to put the ERA back on the national agenda. You can join the coalition to lobby for equality at the ERA and Equal Pay Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 10. For those that cannot make it to Springfield to lobby for the ERA, a Chicago rally will be held at Daley Plaza.

Editorial: End Salary History

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board came out strongly in favor of proposed legislation ending salary history requirements. “It’s a simple concept: Your current pay stub is your business when you apply for a new job. Asking applicants for a salary history helps to perpetuate wage discrimination and the gender pay gap, given women’s long history of unequal pay.” Previous legislation to prohibit employers from requiring salary history was vetoed by Governor Rauner. Read the full editorial here.

Women’s Foundations and #MeToo

Attendees discuss funder strategies at Women Funded 2017.

“In key respects, the #MeToo movement was made possible by decades of work by women’s funds and the women’s advocacy groups they patiently supported.”Inside Philanthropy looks at how women’s funds laid the groundwork for #MeToo, and how women’s funds are leading the way in making philanthropy more open and inclusive. Read the full article here.

Nominate a Local Children’s Advocate

Bright Promises Foundation, a Chicago-based public charity serving children since 1869, is accepting nominations for the 2018 Awards, which recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to low-income and at-risk children in a professional or volunteer capacity. Nominations can be submitted online here.

Leave a Legacy of Purpose with CFW

Nicole Robinson honored her family’s history and her grandmother’s legacy by starting the Lueavery Partee Fund at CFW. There are many ways to leave your legacy at Chicago Foundation for Women. To learn more about planned giving visit www.cfw.org/plannedgiving, or contact Katy Thomas at 312.577.2836 or kthomas@cfw.org.