Where in the World is Women Employed

Women Employed
5 min readFeb 20, 2024

What a month! After easing our way into the first couple of weeks of 2024, Women Employed took off running. From closing out January with a visit to the White House to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to presenting at the National Organization for Student Success conference in Las Vegas, WE gave new meaning to being ALL IN, showing that no event was too far or too out of reach when it comes to improving the economic status of women.

This month alone, we participated in workshops, panel discussions, and conversations. We introduced new audiences to WE at the 10th annual Cider Summit and later danced the night away in support of the LGBTQ+ community at the Equality Illinois Gala. Read on to learn just where exactly in the world was Women Employed and get the inside scoop on where we will be next!

New Moms Site Visit

WE’s Career Pathways Team (Tara Driver, Senior Career Pathways Manager and Efrata Sasahulih, Programs and Research Coordinator) had their first site visit of 2024 on January 22nd! WE would like to thank our partners at New Moms for letting us participate in their Career Foundations workshops. Thanks to Mindy Dillon, Employment Engagement Coach at New Moms, and the New Mom participants, Tara and Efrata were able to fully engage with their program to provide technical support and feedback to their staff.

Mind the Gap: Women in the Workplace and Fair Compensation

Women Employed’s Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs, and Research, Sharmili Majmudar, joined the Social Action Committee of the Metropolitan Dallas Alumnae Chapter — Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for a virtual conversation called Mind the Gap: Women in the Workplace and Fair Compensation on January 24th. Attendees gained insights into the state of pay equity and learned negotiation strategies, legislative initiatives for change, and how to become advocates for equal pay. Click here to watch the replay.

15th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

On Monday, January 29th, Women Employed President and CEO, Cherita Ellens, joined government officials and advocates at a White House event celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, featuring virtual remarks by Ledbetter. The Biden-Harris Administration also announced new measures to advance pay equity, building on previous actions the White House has taken to close the wage gap.

Read more about the administration’s new actions to address wage gaps and improve pay transparency for workers here: https://ow.ly/MMTx50QywZ8

10th Annual Chicago Cider Summit

For the second year, Women Employed was selected as the non-profit beneficiary of the 10th annual Chicago Cider Summit Festival on Saturday, February 3rd! The summit is the region’s largest hard cider-tasting event, featuring local, regional, and international mead, cider cocktails, apple spirits, and more.

Women Employed staff members and volunteers had a great time introducing eventgoers to Women Employed, talking to them about the issues impacting working women and families, and selling raffle tickets to support our mission!

Equality Illinois Gala

On Saturday, February 3rd, WE’s Senior Coalition Manager Starr De Los Santos, along with her fellow members of the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, celebrated all the amazing work Equality Illinois has done in support of pro-LGBTQ+ civil rights in the state at their annual gala.

Center on Halsted Conversation

WE’s Senior Coalition Manager Starr De Lost Santos, along with her fellow members of the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, was invited to join Mayor Johnson and Center on Halsted’s new CEO Joli Robinson on February 7th for an intimate conversation about supporting Chicago’s LGBTQ+ communities.

National Organization for Student Success Conference

The National Organization for Student Success conference took place February 14–17th in Las Vegas. Women Employed’s Christina Green, ASPIRE Senior Program Manager, and Lauren Wheeler, ASPIRE Program Specialist, presented on the data findings of 10 Illinois community colleges participating in the Accelerating Student Progress and Increasing Racial Equity (ASPIRE) Project on developmental education reform. The discussion focused on technical assistance provided to campuses and what the data reveals about developmental education reform and equity.

Museum of Science and Industry Annual Black Creativity Gala

On Saturday, February 17th, WE President and CEO, Cherita Ellens and Board of Directors Chair, Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi attended the Museum of Science and Industry’s annual Black Creativity Gala. The yearly event celebrates the contributions of Black creators, innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs. Leaders from the worlds of industry, education, philanthropy, and civics come together to dine, dance, and demonstrate the power and possibility of the Black community in Chicago and beyond while taking in the exciting works in this year’s Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. This gala is not only the party of the season, but it also allows the Black Creativity program to continue thriving year after year.

YWCA Site Visit

WE’s Tara Driver and Efrata Sasahulih attended a site visit with our partners at the YWCA on Tuesday, February 20th. There, they observed how the YWCA is using the Career Foundations curriculum. Tara and Efrata also observed their class structure, the instruction model used, and their participants’ engagement to give program administrators feedback and provide any needed technical support.

Still to Come!

February 29, 2024: 2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Symposium on Economic Empowerment

To register, visit https://bit.ly/49kMTB2

March 12, 2024: Equal Pay Chicago Pay Equity Series: Making Salary Transparency Work

To register, visit https://bit.ly/49IS5hZ

March 26, 2024: Innovate Like a Woman: Transformative Leadership Against the Odds

To register, visit https://bit.ly/3uLFSdh

May 23, 2023: The Working Lunch

To purchase tables and tickets, visit womenemployed.org/twl



Women Employed

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