“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Happy New Year
A Letter from Our CEO

We enter yet another year, battling a pandemic and the right to agency of our bodies, fighting to ensure EVERY American citizen can access their right to vote without obstruction and barriers, employing the case that caregiving is infrastructure and that the safety and well-being of working Americans should be centered in our recovery. I know it is frustrating, and for some, demoralizing. However, we know that movement building is a cycle, and it isn’t a straight line. We must continue to organize, educate, and build awareness and will. To act. To disrupt. To strategize and re-strategize. To stay the course. And…to rest whenever needed without explanation, apology, or guilt.

Because I know I need to be at my best, this year I am channeling my inner Nina Simone while my soul sings, “it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and I am feeling good.” I will protect my attitude and peace. I will swear a little…oh who am I kidding, I will swear a lot (LOL!). I will take breaks. And, I will push those around me to do the same. We will stay the course, and we will win!

I look forward to sharing the frustrations, victories, and joys with all of you this year as we continue the hard work of advancing the economic power for women and pursuing a more equitable and just reality for all.

Stay safe and be well,
Cherita Ellens
President and CEO
To our donors and supporters,

Thank you for your generosity and outpouring of support during our end-of-year campaign. Because of you, we were able to raise nearly $40,000 that will go directly towards ensuring all women have the tools and resources they need to be economically empowered.

It is times like this, when hundreds of community members join together, that prove our power to ignite real change. With you by our side, we will continue to ensure women emerge from the “shecession” stronger than before. 

On behalf of everyone at Women Employed, thank you for your partnership.

With so much gratitude, 
Christina Perez
Director of Development
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With the New Year upon us, we are reminded of Dr. King’s commitment to service, equity, and the fight towards ending racism, and are eternally grateful for the ways in which he showed up for others through being a beacon of light in a dark place.

Today and everyday, we strive to carry out his legacy through advocacy and empowerment, and to encourage others to do the same. We all have so much to gain from living in a more equitable society and having the willingness to serve is just the start. So let’s all do our part by making this year, 2022, the year that we commit ourselves to living a life of service to all mankind. And continue on in the fight towards making this country and our world one where everyone can benefit.
The Increased Demand for Paid Leave
With hospitalization rates near an all-time high, paid leave is more essential than ever to keep families safe and help women stay in the workforce. It advances gender equity, stimulates the economy, and reduces the number of families in poverty. Yet the United States remains the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid leave for working families. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our chance to create a paid leave program is right now, and Women Employed is doing everything we can to make it happen! 

Nationally, we’re relentlessly advocating for federal paid leave to be included in the heatedly debated Build Back Better Act which has been stalled in the U.S. Senate for several months. We’re advocating in coalition and we’re working to change hearts and minds, calling on thousands of WE supporters—INCLUDING YOU!—to join the chorus of voices urging legislators to do right by working women and defend paid leave. Email your senators now and tell them to fight to pass the Build Back Better Act WITH paid leave! 
While Congress debates, in Illinois, Women Employed is redoubling our efforts to pass the Illinois Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. This measure would provide employees with the paid leave we need to welcome a new child, care for ourselves or a loved one with a serious illness, and persevere through a public health emergency, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and help raise public awareness by educating your networks about the urgent need for paid leave! Read this article from The Atlantic, The Real Reason Americans Aren't Isolating, which highlights that "about a fifth of all U.S. workers don't get paid sick leave, and the lowest-paid workersthose who serve food, clean hotels, or stock groceriesare least likely to have it."
Join us on January 31st (10:30 - 11:45 a.m., CT) as we release the findings of Women Employed’s new research report, “Intersecting Barriers: Challenges to Economic Empowerment for Domestic Violence Survivors.” Produced with support from Michael Reese, we investigate the needs and gaps faced by survivors in the Chicago metropolitan area, and leverage the insights of workforce development professionals, domestic violence advocates, and survivors themselves in recommending policy and practice solutions. 
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APPLICATION LIVE: The Pattis Family Foundation Summer Leadership Program
The application is live through March 28 for Women Employed's paid virtual internship, The Pattis Family Foundation Summer Leadership Program, which seeks to introduce current college students to all areas of nonprofit work through workshops, guest speakers, and projects. 

Visit the program page on the website to learn more, including applicant qualifications and how to apply.
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