Group pushing for gender equity in Illinois by 2030
October 31 2015

By Maudlyne Ihejirika

Originally appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times

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When actress Jennifer Lawrence, writing last month in fellow actress Lena Dunham’s feminist newsletter, expressed outrage at being paid less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle,” women across America mentally co-signed.

For those in the trenches of the battle over gender equity, Lawrence’s salvo elicited a “Yes!” Lawrence – the world’s best-paid actress – had revived the question of why, in 2015, women are making 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.

“While celebrities are talking about much larger sums of money, here are people who are perhaps being paid in the millions and still seeing wage inequity,” says K. Sujata, CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. “The fact that they make it public just proves that it’s happening at all income levels.”

The 30-year-old foundation has launched The 100 Percent Project. Its aim is to end gender bias in Illinois and achieve equitable employment of women all the way to corporate suites and political seats by 2030.

Women account for nearly half the workforce and are the breadwinners in four of 10 American families. But they are paid less in almost every occupation, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

And while the U.S. Census Bureau reports the gender wage gap at its smallest since 1960, discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions remains, says the Washington, D.C.-based institute. In fact, it estimates women won’t reach pay parity until 2059.

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