GoWomen: The Status of Chicago's Women + Girls
October 03 2018

A new report from CFW


The Status of Chicago’s Women + Girls

Presenting data on the Status of Women + Girls

Four years ago, CFW toured the Chicago region, hearing women and men across every demographic share their thoughts on how to best advance gender equity in our communities. From those conversations came The 100% Project, an all-out, all-in effort to end gender bias and achieve gender equity in our region within a generation.

With our pursuit of this ambitious goal comes a commitment to being collaborative in our efforts and transparent in our progress. Today, CFW is releasing its second annual Report on the Status of Chicago’s Women and Girls, to provide an update on the state of gender equity in the Chicago region as of 2016, looking at women’s education, labor force participation, corporate and political leadership, female-headed households, teen birth rates and violence against women. Where possible, we have disaggregated the data to take a closer look at how race, ethnicity and location impact opportunities for women across our region. In doing so, we see that greater attention must be paid to the needs of women of color, especially Black and Latina women, even in the areas where women as a group seem to be nearing parity.

Progress is being made, but it is still not enough. In order to reach gender parity, strategic advancements — and investments — must be made. We are proud to highlight examples of the work being done across our region by CFW grantees Women Employed, The Center for Advancing Domestic Peace, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Chicago Freedom School to move us closer to gender equity, for all women and girls.

You can read the full report here. Share your thoughts using #StatusOfChiWomen.


With highest hopes,

K. Sujata
Chicago Foundation for Women


Domestic Violence Leaders Issue Statement for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

CFW, with the support of Alphawood Foundation, started to convene the Domestic Violence Leaders Collaborative in 2015 to bring together sector leaders to dig into deep-rooted challenges in addressing domestic violence. In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 26 members of the Domestic Violence Leaders Collaborative have come together to issue the following statement, solidifying their commitment to expand the movement to end domestic violence to engage and support other movements for social justice:

The Domestic Violence Leaders Collaborative (The Collaborative), representing nonprofit organizations working to end gender-based violence, envisions an equitable society that values all humanity, celebrating the richness of our diverse identities and strengths of communities.

This group was borne out of a vision for collaborative action and inclusivity — in how we work, who we serve, how we advocate and who we engage. At the root of domestic violence is the misuse of power not only in the hands of an intimate partner, but also fueled by and intertwined with cultural, economic, political and social structures.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we, the members of The Collaborative, are sharing our commitments to each other and the wider community. We commit:

– To identify and address our own organizational barriers for enacting racial, gender and economic justice;

– To uplift the intersections of identity for survivors and their families, supporting solutions borne out of communities;

– To engage a wider community of allies, including men and people across gender identities;

– To be in solidarity with social justice and community-based movements; and

– To open our doors, working with other organizations where survivors, people who have done harm and their families find peace, healing and justice amidst multiple layers of inequities.

For the full statement and list of organizations signing on, click here.

Vote Her In October 9

Join CFW for an inspirational celebration of the publication of Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President, a new book from Rebecca Sive, on Tuesday, October 9, at WeWork Kinzie. The event will feature a lively conversation on women’s leadership power with Rebecca Sive; Julia Stasch, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Kimberly Foxx, State’s Attorney for Cook County, Illinois; Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago; and K. Sujata, President/CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women. Register here.

Nominate a Leader for a 2019 Impact Award

Do you know someone dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of women and girls in Chicago? Nominate them for a 2019 Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award today! On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Chicago Foundation for Women will celebrate five Chicago-area individuals for their dedication to increasing resources and opportunities for women and girls in the Chicago area. Eligible nominees are women, men and gender-nonconforming individuals, and can be current or emerging leaders of any age and come from any field. The deadline to submit nominations is Thursday, November 1, 2018! Click here to download the nomination form.




If you missed the Morning Symposium before the 33rd Annual Luncheon, you can now watch the program online via CAN TV. This Morning Symposium featured conversations among four local youth organizers and leaders about how they are daring to take action on community violence and LGBTQ rights. Watch the full Morning Symposium here.

“Keep your hands to yourself”

Before sitting down to interview Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman at CFW’s 33rd Annual Luncheon, Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens shared her takeaways from Aly’s memoir, Fierce, in her Balancing Act column for the Chicago Tribune, and Aly sat down with ABC 7 to share her message for survivors and those looking to be a supportive ally: “I just want every single person to feel that they matter and to feel that they have a voice and that they should be heard, and to also encourage everyone else that if someone is trying to use their voice that everyone should listen.”

During the Luncheon, Aly offered blunt advice to anyone afraid of the #MeToo Movement: “Keep your hands to yourself and be respectful. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t get that.” Read additional coverage here.



Supporting Survivors

With women’s experiences of sexual assault dominating recent news, Sarah Layden, Director of Programs and Public Policy at Resilience, formerly Rape Victim Advocates, and Sharmili Majmudar, Interim CEO and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Women Employed, are offering guidance on how to support survivors of sexual assault and violence.

“We encourage people to take a break from [social media] if they need to,”Majmudar said on WBEZ’s Morning Shift. “The reality is some people feel that taking action and speaking out is an important part of their healing process and actually can be self care for them as well.”

Adds Layden, “The important thing is knowing or becoming familiar with the things that trigger you so that way you can take a time out or develop coping or self care mechanisms… to move through that experience.” Layden also spoke with the Chicago Tribune about the long-lasting impact of sexual assault and residual “triggers.”

YWCA Launches New Investment Fund

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago puts stock in women — literally. YWCA recently launched an exchange-traded fund, WOMN, enabling people to invest in companies with policies and practices that empower women and promote gender equity. The funds included rank better than their peers in their sector on 19 points, including the percentage of women on the board, in the workforce and in leadership; the presence of a solid anti-sexual-harassment policy; and policies around paid time off and equal pay, says Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Read the full story here.

Who gets to raise a free-range child?

The story of a Wilmette mother investigated by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services for letting her eight year old daughter walk their dog alone raises questions not only about the harsh judgement leveled against mothers, but also double standards within our child welfare system. “The consequences are so much more dire for low-income and families of color,” who faces systemic bias and often can’t afford legal representation, Rachel O’Konis Ruttenberg, executive director of CFW grantee the Family Defense Center, a Chicago organization that defends parents under investigation and advocates for DCFS reforms, told the Chicago Tribune. Read the full story here.

Refugee Resettlements Decline

Graphic via The Chicago Tribune.

In 2017, CFW grantee RefugeeOne resettled 728 refugees — the largest number in its history. This year, that number is fewer than 200. The Chicago Tribune and WBEZ look at the impact of decreased refugee admissions by the United States on local resettlement agencies and the communities they serve.


LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance, organized the #SayHerName Rally following the murder of Dejanay Stanton, a trans woman, in Bronzeville. “It’s a constant fear that a trans woman, especially a person of color, could be killed at any moment,” said Wade. The #SayHerName Rally was “for our sisters who are afraid to come out“ and to call for solidarity and accountability from cisgender allies, according to Wade. The Human Rights Campaign reports that 21 transgender people have been killed in 2018.


Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health is featured throughout Season 4 of Rewire’s podcast CHOICE/LESS. You can listen to them on ICAH’s websiteEpisode 3, “The Talk,” features ICAH youth, Niky, and her mother and ICAH board member, Roni Washington, discussing activism and the importance of communication around topics like abortion. Episode 5 cover’s ICAH recent play, This Boat Called My Body, which was created from stories collected from youth about their experiences seeking abortion.



Young Feminist Conference

Join Cause the Effect Chicago for the third annual Young Feminist Conference this Saturday, October 6! Feminists of all ages are welcomed and encouraged to attend this free conference to learn more about the issues that affect us here and now, and how our collective voices and actions can create the change we want to see in our communities, our city and our country. Register here.

Leave a Legacy of Purpose with CFW

A former welder, and the daughter of farmers, Reverend Willie Taplin Barrow does not fit the stereotypical image of a philanthropist. But as a leader in Chicago’s civil rights movement, Rev. Barrow believed in breaking barriers and challenging the status quo. Thanks to her estate, Rev. Barrow’s legacy and fierce commitment to justice lives on through The Willie Taplin Barrow Fund for Black Women’s Leadership at Chicago Foundation for Women. 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.