About the Commission
The Cook County Commission on Women's Issues was created by resolution of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in October of 1995. The Commission is composed of twenty-one women of various racial, economic, ethnic, and occupational backgrounds, including representatives of each of the seventeen Districts across Cook County, appointed by each District’s County Commissioner, and four at-large commissioners, who are appointed by the President of the Cook County Board.
The Commission advises the President and members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners on issues of concern to women and girls. It develops policy and program recommendations and collaborates with a wide range of governmental and private sector organizations on projects addressing a variety of issues affecting the status of women and girls, including domestic violence, child care, economic equity, and health. The Commission works to elevate the status of women and girls of Cook County, improve the delivery of services to women and their families, and eliminate inequalities in laws, practices and conditions that impact Cook County women and girls.
If you would like more information about the Women’s Commission or are interested in future commission activities, please contact the office.
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Commission on Women's Issues Activities
Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Awards
In observance of Women’s History Month, the Commission hosts an annual award ceremony recognizing 18 women from across Cook County for their vital contributions to their communities, families, and professions.
Domestic/Sexual and Workplace Violence Policies and Resources
The Commission updated and distributed information on the County’s Domestic/Sexual and Workplace Violence Policies to County employees. The Commission also developed a resource directory of organizations, agencies and shelters which serve Cook County in the areas of domestic and sexual violence.
Cook County, as an employer, and specifically, the offices under the President, are joining with other employers and organizations throughout Cook County, and focusing on the issue of violence, specifically, domestic violence as a work-life, workplace issue. Everyone is entitled to a secure and safe working environment. Cook County employees are no exception. Cook County is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for its employees and the members of the general public which it serves.
Domestic violence does not always stay in the home, it often follows its target into the workplace. Domestic violence affects employee health, workplace morale, productivity, and bottom-line costs. When we as employers, address violence of any type, but particularly, domestic violence, we have the power to not only save money, but most importantly, to save lives.
Since the workplace is where many victims of domestic/sexual violence spend at least eight hours a day, it is also an ideal place to provide education on issues surrounding violence, as well as assistance to victims. The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues is distributing a pamphlet which provides general information pertaining to violence in the workplace as well as available resources. In addition, the Commission on Women’s Issues has available, a resource directory of Cook County domestic violence agencies, shelters and other service providers. For more information, please see the downloads on the right side of this page.
The Commission was instrumental in implementing daycare and early education with the Cook County/City of Chicago Child Development Center. The Center provides high quality early childhood education to approximately 112 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, of County and City employees. Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a leading expert in the arena of employer sponsored care, operates the Center. The facility also serves as a training center for current and future child care educators.
Each year the Commission holds a public hearing on a topic that is critical to the advancement and well being of women and girls. Past topics have included breast cancer and its impact on special populations, elder care, girls at risk, the local impact of human trafficking of women and girls, issues of economic empowerment for women and girls, affordable housing, sexual health, and criminal justice reform. This testimony provides the foundation for recommendations to the Board of Commissioners about changes that need to take place to better serve women and girls in Cook County.
The Commission conducts seminars and forums throughout Cook County related to each annual public hearing topic. In the past, the Commission has held a screening and discussion of the award-winning film “Girls on the Wall,” a film about incarcerated teenage girls, as well as seminars on “Hurting in Silence: Breaking the Barrier,” a discussion on teen bullying; the “Young Women’s Healthy Choices Forum”; and the “Human Trafficking Community Forum,” which educated the public on the issue of human trafficking in and beyond Cook County.
The Commission collaborates with city, state and federal government agencies, and private sector organizations to co-sponsor events such as, “Women’s Equality Day,” celebrating the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment; “Equal Pay Day,” the day when a woman’s wages catch up to a man’s wages from the previous year; and, “Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay: A Conversation with Lilly Ledbetter.”
Illinois for CEDAW
The Commission participates in this local coalition helping to raise awareness about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Illinois for CEDAW was instrumental in the Illinois General Assembly adopting resolutions in support of CEDAW. On the recommendation of the Commission, the Cook County Board adopted a resolution urging the United States Senate to ratify this international human rights convention that opposes discrimination against women.