Where in the World is Women Employed?

Women Employed
6 min readOct 25, 2023


The question shouldn’t be, “Where in the world is Women Employed?” It’s more like, “Where in the World ISN’T Women Employed?” Because we are proof that if there’s a panel, stage, or workshop, Women Employed will be there speaking, attending, or hosting, in our effort to continue advocating for equitable spaces where women can live, grow, and thrive.

Closing out September, we spoke at a Labor Council for Latin American Advancement event, in October attended a breakfast by our friends at The Network and closed the month out kicking off our workshop series with BMO. And of course, if you missed seeing us out and about, here’s a recap of where we’ve been, so you can feel like you were there too.

LCLLA Event: Latinas Unidas Closing The Wage Gap 9.30

At the end of September, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and LCLAA Trabajadoras Fellows Marlene Cardona and Kimberly Lopez, invited Starr De Los Santos, Senior Coalition Manager, Women Employed and Lead Staff, Equal Pay Day Chicago to speak at Latinas Unidas: Closing The Latina Wage Gap. The event was emceed by Community Organizer Lizbeth Flores and included guest speakers Izzy Dobbel, Political Director, Chicago Federation of Labor and Graciela Cruz Nira, CMRJB Workers United Intern. Congratulations on a successful event to raise awareness about Latina Equal Pay Day, knowing your rights in the workplace, and the importance of being in a union.

Harold Washington College’s Equity, Peace, and Justice Employment and Volunteer Fair 10.4

Earlier this month, Women Employed joined over 30 social justice and public good organizations at Harold Washington College’s Equity, Peace, and Justice Employment and Volunteer Fair. At the fair, we connected with over 100 students, promoting WE’s Advocacy Council, and recruited students to apply for The Pattis Family Foundation Summer Leadership Program. And look who our Senior Events and Volunteer Manager, Michelle Shwartz, bumped into. It was great seeing our Board of Director, Barbara Barreno-Paschall!

Mayor Johnson proclamation of DVAM at City Council 10.5

We were grateful for Mayor Johnson’s proclamation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the City Council’s recognition of the important work being done in Chicago to end gender-based violence. We’re proud of our Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs and Research, Sharmili Majmudar who serves on the city’s gender-based violence task force, lifting up how critical economic security is to freedom from violence.

The Network’s Leading Together Partnership Breakfast 10.5

Congratulations to our friends at The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence for a successful and inspiring Leading Together Partnership Breakfast, and especially to State Senator Ram Villivalam and State Representative Kam Buckner, who were recognized for their work to make public transit more accessible to survivors of domestic violence. WE’s Sharmili Majmudar was in attendance as keynote speaker, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul delivered an inspiring speech on his long-standing commitment to supporting domestic violence survivors. We are blown away at the impact that The Network and its domestic violence Hotline have every day!

Chicagoland Workforce Development Symposium: From Concept to Action: Implementing Equitable Solutions Within the Workforce Ecosystem at the State and Local Level 10.12

On Thursday, October 12th was the Second Annual Chicagoland Workforce Development Symposium at City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College. The convention “Moving Equity from Concept to Reality” featured panels of ‘Real World’ Solutions to Challenges of Bringing Equity to Workforce Development.”

Our panel “From Concept to Action: Implementing Equitable Solutions Within the Workforce Ecosystem at the State and Local Levels” was moderated by our Director of Policy and Programs, Christina Warden and included speakers Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed, Lisa M. Bly-Jones, Ed.D., CEO, Chicago Jobs Council, and Kathy Olesen-Tracey, Ed.D, Senior Director for Adult Education and Literacy at Illinois Community College Board and Illinois State Director for Adult Education Family Literacy.

Thank you to the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance for partnering with World Business Chicago, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, Chicago Jobs Council, and Origami Works Foundation to create this unique day-long event for workforce practitioners to exchange information — key trends in policy and practice, shared challenges, and successful best practices/strategies to promote an equitable work culture — within the workforce development ecosystem. Congratulations on your event going strong in its second year!

Midwest Career College Graduation Keynote 10.15

Kudos to our Senior Career Pathways Manager, Tara Driver, for delivering an inspiring keynote speech to the 2023 graduating class of Midwestern Career College (MCC)! Thank you, Tara for sharing both your personal wisdom and dedication to workplace advancement and Women Employed’s mission to break down barriers faced by women, especially Black and Latina/x women, in pursuit of women’s economic sustainability at the MCC’s graduation ceremony. Congratulations, Academic Leaders, and best of luck to you!

Second Annual SIU Illinois Higher Education Equity Symposium 10/20

Christina Warden, our Director of Policy and Programs, along with Christina Green, ASPIRE Senior Program Manager, and Lauren Wheeler, ASPIRE Program Specialist, started last week with Leila Ellis-Nelson, Psy.D. at an equity symposium at Chicago State University’s Illinois Center for Education Equity and ended it at the Illinois Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Symposium (SIU) Illinois Higher Education Equity Symposium. A week well spent!!

Huge, thank you to Dr. Sheila Caldwell SIU’s VP of Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the second annual Illinois Higher Education Equity Symposium. She made us feel deeply, think creatively, ignited our passion for the work we do, and increased our sense of urgency for equity.

3rd Annual GET Exploration Day by the Tech Equity Network & WE X BMO Workshop 10/16

Information and communication technologies are becoming increasingly valuable business tools for women entrepreneurs. So this National Women’s Business Month, we’re connecting with women entrepreneurs and women in tech and lifting up the resources in our Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (WE Hub)!

As a proud partner of the Tech Equity Network, WE celebrated the 3rd Annual GET Exploration Day, hosted by GET Cities at TeamWorking by TechNexus last weekend. The half-day conference allowed attendees the opportunity to sign up to intentionally connect with companies and attend on-site experiences like panels, tours, and candid conversations to learn how to navigate tech pathways and how diverse technologists are supported and included.

Then, we kicked off an exciting new series of workshops on Monday! “How Businesses Obtain and Use Business Credit” was the first of BMO U.S.’s SmartProgress® Workshops and was hosted by Ashley Summers Baker, Financial Wellness Relationship Manager, BMO U.S.

This workshop is part of a series hosted by BMO and other partners — exclusively curated and available for WE Hub users. Have an idea that makes YOU the boss? Feeling imposter syndrome? No worries, join the WE Hub here: https://ow.ly/Z8EK50PZosT, and we’ve got you covered.

Are you a member of our WE Hub but haven’t signed up for a workshop yet? Here’s a great chance to join our next one on “Brand Clarity,” hosted by Scout Driscoll of DesignScout | A Branding Agency: https://ow.ly/CAzm50PZosV

Thank you to both Ibie Hart, Director of Business Development and Shelby Flores, MBA, WE Hub Manager, for representing WE at these events!!

Don’t miss out on the next event! Visit the events page on our website to be kept in the loop about where Women Employed is going next and how to be involved.



Women Employed

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.