GoWomen: Growing Women's Leadership Bears Fruit
May 03 2017



Growing Women’s Leadership Bears Fruit


Spring is a time of renewal and growth, and across the country we are seeing a new generation of women leaders emerge in the fight to protect women’s rights and progressive values. In the first 100 days of the new administration, women have been leading the ‘resistance:’ challenging xenophobic and racist policies, marching for science, calling their representatives, organizing in their communities and making plans to run for office.

In Illinois, women are speaking out and demanding that our representatives take action to ensure that all women have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, receive equal pay for equal work, and are not forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their sick child. Last week, women from across the state gathered in Springfield to advocate on a range of issues as diverse as women themselves: from reproductive health and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, to criminal justice reform and trans rights, to a responsible state budget.

While women rallied inside the state Capitol, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to protect reproductive choice and end discrimination against poor women and state employees who need abortion care. The bill is now in the Senate, before heading to the desk of Governor Rauner, who has said he plans to veto it. You can call Governor Rauner and ask him to him to keep his promise to protect choice in Illinois and sign HB40 here.

Women have always been on the front lines of social movements, but this current moment feels different. Women now hold visible positions of power and influence in almost all areas of American life. Social media offers new ways to connect and create community, to share our stories, and to organize to hold abusers and sexual harassers accountable. The growth of women’s leadership will have far-reaching impacts, from better policies for women to more productive governments for all.

But we also know that women cannot do it alone. Lasting change and true gender equity requires men to step up as allies and leaders, using their privilege and power to champion policies that address entrenched inequality and help women and their families succeed.

At Chicago Foundation for Women, we believe that we all benefit from having women at the table as leaders and collaborators, from the boardroom to the statehouse, in business, in community organizing and in philanthropy. We’ve seen amazing growth of women’s leadership in a short time, and we’re excited to see the fruits of their labor.


Folk Fights Back for CFW

Keep the Mother’s Day celebration going Sunday, May 14, at the Folk Fights Back benefit concert for CFW. Folk Fights Back is a musician-led organization that seeks to empower the community to fight for social and political justice, hosting benefit shows to support local nonprofits. All proceeds from Folk Fights Back’s Mother’s Day concert will benefit Chicago Foundation for Women, and help us continue to invest in women and girls.

CFW Marches for Illinois Women in Springfield

Chicago Foundation for Women was proud to sponsor the Illinois Women March on Springfield, and join women from across the state to advocate for women’s reproductive choice and equal access to health care, gender-responsive criminal justice reform, as well as paid sick time for all Illinois workers, among other issues. HB 40, which protects and expands access to reproductive health care, the Women’s Correctional Services Act, and Paid Sick Time all passed the Illinois House.

The Executives’ Club Takes on Diversity

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Executives’ Club Panelists (seated) from left:  Aylwin Lewis, Craig Donohue, Nichole Barnes, and Carter Murray.

“When 47 out of 100 people in the room are women, vs 5 out of 100, it’s a completely differently dynamic. It’s a game changer.” Carter Murray, CEO of FCB Global

FCB Global CEO and CFW Male Champion of Change Carter Murray joined a panel of business leaders at the Executives’ Club of Chicago to discuss “Diversity in the C-Suite” and how leaders can create diverse and inclusive workplaces. Carter was one of the first executives to become one of CFW’s Male Champions of Change, committing to addressing gender bias and increasing the number of women in leadership roles. at FCB Global Says Carter, “It’s the job of us white, heterosexual males to stand up and care as deeply about [gender equality] as everyone else. Otherwise we will never get there.”

Our 100 Days

April 29 wasn’t just the end of the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, it also marked the conclusion of projects funded through The 100 Day Fund at CFW. Over the last 100 days, our partners:

• trained more than 100 young women and men in civic engagement and community organizing;

• sent 700 letters to our elected officials urging them to fund services for domestic violence victims, to defend reproductive rights and funding for health care, and to protect immigrants’ rights;

• hosted more than 100 “Talk It Out” conversations with community groups, businesses and schools across the Chicago region to develop solutions to end gender bias;

• And reached more than 400 community members on issues including the wage gap for women of color, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights and reproductive justice.

A special thanks to our community of CFW donors who continue to make this critical work possible. Forward!


The Case for Feminist Startups

Silicon Valley has long had a reputation as a ‘boys’ club.’ With recent allegations that companies like Uber ignored ongoing sexual harassment and hostility towards women employees, we are finally talking about the impact this boys’ club has on women in tech and startups. In the May/June issue of Chicago Woman Magazine, K. Sujata looks at how startups can take meaningful action to create equitable workplaces in which women can thrive.

Turning Sexual Assault Awareness into Action

Every year, organizations across the country mark April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But liftUplift Worldwide is trying to move beyond awareness and spark a cultural shift around the ways we understand consent and assault. As part of The 100 Day Fund at CFW, liftUPlift Worldwide created the first Sexual Assault Prevention Week to educate more than 500 Chicagoans to recognize warning signs, speak up and take action to stop sexual assault and create positive cultural change through a week of ally trainings. Chicago Tribune’s Heidi Stevens talked with liftUPlift founder Corielle Heath about how bystanders can help end assault. “People hear, ‘If you see something, say something,'” Heath said. “But you need to know what to say and what you can do.”

CFW on the Airwaves: Vocalo & Lumpen Radio

CFW Manager of Communications Kyle Ann Sebastian stopped by Vocalo’s Council of Feminist Thought twice this month to discuss a recent New York Times Op-Ed on the policy impact of women’s leadership, why we’re still talking about sexual harassment in 2017, how standards of masculinity hurt men, and what it means to be a ‘feminist’ company.

At the beginning of April, Kyle Ann also sat down with Lumpen Radio’s Radio Free Bridgeport to discuss how changes in political leadership are impacting women at every level, from the federal government’s approach to Title IX and funding for reproductive health care, to the Illinois budget impasse.



Fighting to Protect Women’s Cancer Screenings

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Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force is heading to Springfield onWednesday, May 10, for an Advocacy Day at the Capitol to fight for funding for Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), the state’s breast and cervical cancer safety net program. Governor Rauner is proposing a 50% cut to this program that provides free screening, diagnostic and treatment services to uninsured and underinsured women. IBCCP provides critical life-saving cancer screening and treatment services for women who could not otherwise afford care.


Pride Action Tank Presents OUTAging

There are approximately 40,000 LGBTQ older adults living in Chicagoland, and that number is expected to double by 2030. From the challenges of meeting the needs of an aging population living with HIV, to forcing people back into the closet when they reside in senior facilities, LGBTQ older adults have specific needs that often go unaddressed. Pride Action Tank, AARP and Affinity Community Services will host OUTAging: Summit on Our Possibilities, May 23-25. The summit will bring together LGBTQ older adults, service providers, clinicians and advocates from across the nation to talk about the needs of LGBTQ older adults in the Chicago region. Early bird registration ends Friday, May 12.


Women Employed on the Next Step in Closing the Wage Gap

Equal Pay Day was April 4, and Women Employed policy director Melissa Josephs joined WGN’s Outside the Loop to talk about Equal Pay Day, the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and how taking salary history out of the equation will help close the wage gap.


RefugeeOne Helps Syrian Family Settle into Chicago Life


Photo by Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune shared the story of the Haj Khalaf family, who fled Aleppo, Syria, and came to Chicago after five years in a refugee camp in Turkey. The family is adjusting with the help of RefugeeOne and community members who have come together to help the family navigate their new life in Chicago.


Celebrating the Work of Women of Color on May Day

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Alicia Garza and Carmen Perez

In observance of May Day and International Workers’ Day, Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and one of the speakers at this year’s 32nd Annual Luncheon, and Carmen Perez, a co-organizer of the Women’s March on Washington, highlighted the role of women of color in the labor movement. They call for a movement that centers the experiences and labor of women of color and recognizes “the shared principle that none of us will survive without all of us.”

March to Springfield for a Budget

On May 15, Fair Economy Illinois kicks off a 15-day, 200 mile #MarchtoSpringfield. They are marching to tell our elected representatives to do their job by passing a fair budget that invests in the people of Illinois and our environment. They’ll be stopping in communities along the way for listening sessions, to hear from communities what matters most to them. The group will begin their march with a send off celebration at the James R. Thompson Center on Monday, May 15. Learn more at www.marchtospringfield.org.

Study: Single Women Face Greatest Economic Risk

When it comes to women’s economic security, the wage gap, the wealth gap, and women’s dual roles as breadwinner and caretaker create a perfect storm for economic risk. New research from the Center for American Progress finds that single women have greater exposure and fewer protections from economic risk, and are more likely to face several economic risks at once than single men. Policies that reduce the risk of unexpected and unpaid time off, such as paid sick time and family leave, and benefits that help single women grow wealth would increase women’s economic security.