GoWomen: Disrupting Gender Bias
April 05 2017

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Disrupting Gender Bias.

talkitout collage

Three years ago, Chicago Foundation for Women set out on a cross-Chicago listening tour to better understand how we could advance the conversation around gender equity. At these “Salons to Solve,” we heard over and over that, for many, this was the first in-depth discussion of gender bias they’d ever had. We realized that before we could think about changing the conversation around gender, we needed to first start having it. The following year, we launched Talk It Out, a weeklong, region-wide conversation about gender bias.

Now in its second year, and with over 100 community, business and school groups participating, these conversations about recognizing and challenging gender bias feel a little more urgent. Throughout the week, we heard from women who strived to create egalitarian relationships, only to feel them regress after the election; women working to engage girls in defending their rights, in hopes that the next generation won’t have to fight as hard; and women recognizing the ways they may perpetuate gender bias.

We often think of gender bias as an external force holding women back, but we must recognize the ways women participate in and uphold systems of inequality. At one early morning Talk It Out, a participant tallied the times women apologized, noting that “if this was a room full of men, you wouldn’t hear that.” Another woman shared her experience  balancing her managerial responsibilities with a desire to be well-liked, a double-bind felt by many women leaders. Others discussed the ways in which women are “conditioned to tear each other down,” and penalize women that defy gender expectations, such as pushing for a higher salary, displaying ambition, or being the boss.

This is not to cast women as villains — gender bias is deeply embedded in our culture, starting from a very young age. Challenging bias takes conscious effort and constant disruption. It takes examining how we raise our children, teaching our sons to have empathy just as we teach our daughters to be strong. It takes actively supporting women across differences; listening to, learning from, and standing with women of color, lesbian and trans women who may experience intersecting forms of bias, and amplifying their voices.

It takes men and boys standing up to bias — recognizing the ways gender bias hurts men and boys; calling out harmful and degrading language when they hear it; and taking active roles as caregivers.

Talking openly and honestly about gender bias is the first step towards ending it. Thank you to everyone that hosted or participated in Talk It Out — we want to hear about what you learned and what action you will take to end gender bias in your own life.

You can share your experience by taking our Talk It Out survey.

We’re not the only ones talking. You can read Chicago Tonight’s Talk It Out coverage here.


Women Demand Equal Pay On and Off the Field


Paul Sancya/AP

April 4 was Equal Pay Day, marking the point in the year when women ‘catch up’ to men’s earnings in the previous year. But many women are still weeks away from equal pay day: Black and Latina women experience a higher wage gap, earning 63 cents and 55 cents on the dollar, respectively.

Some women are done waiting for Equal Pay Day. K. Sujata explores how the wage gap affects women across education levels and careers — including women in professional athletics — and how the US women’s hockey team took a stand for equal pay. Read the full post on Huffington Post.

Running 600 Miles for Gender Equity


Last summer, Will Gane ran the BADWATER 135 — a 135-mile trek through Death Valley in the middle of summer, dubbed the world’s toughest race — to promote gender equality. This summer, Will is more than quadrupling the challenge byrunning 600 miles for gender equality and to support the mission of Chicago Foundation for Women.

Will kicked off his spring training by hosting a Talk It Out at Live Grit triathlon shop, where participants discussed gender bias in endurance sports and athletics.

Follow Will’s epic journey for gender equality at echoesofdeathvalley.com.

A Day Without A Woman on The Council of Feminist Thought

International Women’s Day took on greater significance this year, as A Day Without A Woman and the International Women’s Strike. CFW joined the Chicago chapter of Shout Your Abortion on Vocalo’s Council of Feminist Thought to talk about the motivation and goals of the women’s strike, and how women can continue to tell their stories.


2017 Impact Awards

Click on the image above to watch CFW’s 2017 Impact Award video!

This year, CFW honored nine amazing leaders for their work on behalf of women and girls at the 2017 Impact Awards. From supporting women’s economic security through investments in education and job training, to protecting the health and safety of women of color, watch our tribute video to learn how this year’s honorees are building a better Chicago for women and girls.

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate these inspiring women!

32nd Annual Luncheon Speakers Announced!


At the Impact Awards, CFW President/CEO K. Sujata announced that CFW will bring together Dolores Huerta and Alicia Garza in conversation at the 32nd Annual Luncheon. Dolores Huerta launched the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez, helping to win labor rights for California farm workers. Alicia Garza is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. We hope you will join us on Thursday, October 19th and be part of the conversation about how diverse communities can unite to achieve equal opportunities and basic rights for women and girls.

Sponsorships are now available. Individual tickets will be made available at a later date.

Illinois Women March on Springfield April 25th

CFW has joined a coalition of Illinois organizations to organize and support a women’s march on Springfield, Tuesday, April 25. Women from across the state will come together in our state’s capital to advocate for a progressive agenda, including strengthening the Equal Pay Act, paid sick time and Family Medical Leave, restoring childcare assistance and funding for domestic violence services, and protection of reproductive choice in Illinois. We hope you’ll join us on April 25.

Need a ride to Springfield? Information on transportation, including carpools and RallyBus can be found here.

Board Member Boot Camp in May

Interested in serving on a non-profit board of directors? Join us in May to learn about how to be an effective board member, and how to find the right board for you! Board Boot Camp is a comprehensive, interactive two-day training in which participants gain skills in understanding board roles and responsibilities, non-profit financials and fundraising basics. You will also have the opporunity to network with organizations recruiting new members at an evening event.

Click here to download the application. Early bird applications are due April 15. For more information, contact Eli Marsh, Philanthropic Education Officer, atemarsh@cfw.org.

Celebrate Spring at CFW’s Oak Park Gathering


Save the date for the annual Oak Park Spring Gathering, on Wednesday, May 17. This intimate gathering will bring together CFW’s closest supporters in Oak Park for a night of great food, wine and friends. Learn more and register here.

A Message to POTUS from the Women’s Community

CFW joined more than 300 organizations across the nation that advocate for women’s rights, equality, justice and inclusion in sending a letter to the president urging him to build a more fair, just and equal nation. The letter outlines six domestic policy areas that are critical to women and all families, and upon which the community will evaluate the Trump administration’s success.

Leave a Legacy of Purpose with CFW

Have you considered leaving a legacy at Chicago Foundation for Women? There are many creative and flexible planned giving options that can benefit both you and CFW, whether it is naming Chicago Foundation for Women as a beneficiary in your estate plan or life insurance policy or gifting other assets.

For more information about creating your lasting legacy at CFW, call Katy Thomas at 312-577-2836 or email kthomas@cfw.org


Women’s Justice Initiative Proposes Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Women are the fastest growing population in prison, comprising a larger proportion of the prison population than ever before. With CFW’s support,Women’s Justice Initiative helped develop landmark legislation to create a permanent Women’s Correctional Services Division within the Illinois Deptartment of Corrections (IDOC) in order to provide gender responsive, trauma-informed policies, practices and services for all women incarcerated and/or on parole. 98% of women housed by the IDOC have experienced physical abuse; gender-informed, trauma responsive policies will help the criminal system better serve the women in their custody.

The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives. You can find information on your State Representative, including how to contact them, here.


Chicago Company Takes on Lack of Women Directors

We know that companies with gender-balanced boards and management are more profitable and outperform market expectations. Now, State Street Global Advisors is taking action, “demanding change at firms without any female directors by voting against board members who don’t make gender diversity a priority.”

In a Crain’s OpEd, CFW board member Kim Jenson argues that gender equality at the board level “starts at the personal level, with a commitment by executives to promote greatergender balance within their own companies and to persuade peers to do the same.”

LBTQ Council Hosts International Women’s Day Dance

Photo Courtesy of the Windy City Times

Congratulations to the LBTQ Giving Council on raising close to $10,000 at its 3rd Annual International Women’s Day Dance! Money raised will go back into the LGBTQ community in Chicago in the form of grants awarded this June.

Western Suburbs Giving Circle Awards $23,000

The Western Suburbs Giving Circle completed its second year of grantmaking, awarding $23,000 to two organizations working with domestic violence survivors and providing leadership development opportunities to teen girls.

Interested in joining these women in making a difference in your western suburban community? Contact Eli Marsh, Philanthropic Education Officer, at emarsh@cfw.org.