We are just a few days away from entering a fresh decade! Over the past 10 years, Women Employed has played a vital role in the improvement of the lives of workers and students on various levels, near and far. Take a moment to hear from Women Employed staff who have been strongly advocating and pushing for change from 2009–2019!
“In more than a decade at WE (where has the time gone??), we have truly grown together. We have both expanded our understanding of feminism, inclusivity, and intersectionality, recognizing that white, cis women and our needs have dominated feminism for too long — and realizing that we’ve only just begun the neverending fight for inclusive, intersectional policymaking. And we’ve grown while making positive change: the highest level of MAP funding ever, #MeToo and anti-harassment workplace policies, paid sick days in Chicago (and statewide soon too!), and so much more. If the next 10 years look like the last 10, our future is bright!” — Sarah Labadie, Associate Director of Policy
“In the last decade we’ve fought for and won some incredible victories that are making a difference for millions — a law fighting pregnancy discrimination, paid sick time for Chicagoland workers, protected and increased financial aid funding, programs to help adult students succeed in college. And we’ve also seen huge organizational transformation — we said farewell to our longtime Executive Director and welcomed a new CEO, we rolled out a rebrand, we launched TWO new websites! It’s been a privilege to be part of WE during such a pivotal time and I’m excited for what the 2020s will bring! “— Judy Miyashita, Director of Marketing and Engagement
“When I arrived, WE was beginning its engagement work with Power Hours and Working Women for Change; sponsoring a state paid sick days bill; and working with colleges to make post-secondary education more accessible to first-time, non-traditional students. The 20-teens decade makes me realize how far Women Employed has come (e.g., paid sick days in Chicago) but also reminds me how long the road can be to create policy change that has a lasting impact in women’s lives (e.g., still working for paid sick days statewide.) What has not changed is the awe-inspiring team of women that I get to work with on these issues — WE board members; our terrific new CEO; our councils, volunteers, donors, and supporters; and my co-workers who are fighting for gender equity every day.” — Christina Warden, Director of Policy
“We frequently say that Women Employed has organizing in our DNA so I’ve been thrilled to see the surge in activism over my 10 years at WE. In recent years, I’ve rallied with supporters who had never made a sign or marched before, who were inspired to act to make sure we don’t lose ground on the hard-won gains of the last four decades. Our Action Network has grown exponentially since I started, and I’m proud of the tools we provide to help WE supporters be better informed and more effective advocates. In 2009, WE’s Advocacy Council — our group of young advocates — would attract 8–10 young women to their monthly meetings. Ten years later, the Council is led by a group of co-chairs, a committee of leaders, and a list of members that’s in the hundreds. They’re even organizing their own “friendraising” and fundraising event, Advocacy on Tap, at Lagunitas on Feb. 4, 2020 (stay tuned for tickets). While we’re all worried about the future, I feel hopeful for the next 10 years and beyond, because I know together, we are stronger!”— Mary Kay Devine, Senior Director of External Affairs