In 1973, a small group of Chicago women founded Women Employed to stand up to injustice in the workplace. Throughout the 1970s, WE won major advances for working women—from helping make sexual harassment illegal, to pressing companies to employ women in professional roles and the federal government to enforce equal opportunity laws.
By the 1980's, WE fought for equal pay, persuaded employers to enact family-friendly policies, and protected equal opportunity rules in the face of an unfriendly federal administration. Building momentum, they initiated their first-ever campaigns to help low-income women gain access to education and training to build skills for higher-paying opportunities.
In the 1990s, WE played an instrumental role in two major national victories—the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which helped victims of discrimination find recourse; and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allowed workers to take job-protected leave. WE then launched the Illinois Paid Leave Coalition in the 2000s and began working on legislation to guarantee workers paid sick time.
More recently, they were instrumental in winning No Salary History and pregnancy fairness laws in Illinois, paid sick time for half a million Chicagoland workers, and a Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois. WE is now continuing their fight for comprehensive COVID relief, paid sick time, and leave for every working person in Illinois and across the country!
Are you feeling motivated yet? It is interesting to have learned about the impact this organization has made for so many people and families over the last few decades. While there has been such an impact made already by WE, there is always more work to be done. I am proud to be partnering with such a motivating and impactful group.
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