1987 was an eventful year. Not only was it the year March was declared Women’s History Month, it was also the first year Women Employed hosted what is now an annual tradition: The Working Lunch.
Pictured above are Harold Washington and Eleanor Holmes Norton—two fundamental figures in the fight for equity for all—at that very first luncheon. Washington is best known as Chicago’s first African American mayor, but throughout his life he was a strong and influential advocate for racial equity and representation in many arenas.
By his side is Eleanor Holmes Norton, a true barrier breaker. Prior to becoming a Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, a role she has held for the past 15 years, Holmes Norton was an influential civil rights lawyer, an activist who helped organize the March on Washington, and the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women Employed is proud to have worked closely with her to create the guidelines defining sexual harassment as illegal sex discrimination, and to advance other crucial anti-discrimination protections in the workplace.
Holmes Norton keynoted our very first luncheon and was introduced by Mayor Washington, her close friend. Little did we know that this would be one of Washington's last public appearances before his passing, making this picture even more special.
34 years later, The Working Lunch continues to bring together activists and community leaders to create positive change for working women and families. At this year’s luncheon— on May 25th, we will showcase how WE plans to make the next four years count. And we will be joined by another powerful keynote speaker: Congresswoman Lauren Underwood. Like Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congresswoman Underwood is a critical leader in the fight for economic freedom and equity.