The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues hosts an annual public hearing to address issues faced by women and girls in Cook County. The primary purpose of the hearing is educational. The plan is to use the information gathered to develop a set of recommendations for action by the County Board and other interested parties. The Commission issues a Public Hearing Report based on information presented by speakers and research which offers both insight and recommendations for change, including recommendations for how County government may assist or participate in facilitating necessary change.
On November 19, 2020 the Commission on Women's Issues held the annual public hearing virtually, Domestic Violence During The Pandemic: How Cook County Is Responding. See the downloads section for the recommendations.
Public Hearing Report – October 2016 - Restorative Justice: How Cook County Can Promote a New Approach to Justice
The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues held its annual public hearing on the topic of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice has proven to be an effective alternative to traditional, more punitive justice measures, especially regarding juveniles and young adults. Restorative justice methods reduce recidivism, encourage behavioral rehabilitation, provide for victim advocacy and satisfaction, and recognize input from the community.
Public Hearing Report – November 2015 - Graduated Reentry: One Step Closer to Strengthening Communities
The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues held its annual public hearing on the topic of Graduated Reentry.
Graduated Reentry is a solution to helping formerly incarcerated women return to their communities.
Graduated Reentry uses a blend of supports and sanctions to help women and girls released from incarceration to make good decisions, avoid recidivism, and build healthy lives.
Public Hearing Report - October 2014 - The New Stay-at-Home Mother: Pre-Trial Services and Family Reunification
The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues held its annual public hearing on the topic of the role of pre-trial services in family reunification.
The New Stay-At-Home Mother” is a woman who has been charged with a non-violent crime, but is allowed to stay at home with her children, rather than be detained pre-trial.
In Cook County, one out of every four women held for a non-violent crime is the head of a single family household. The decision to detain pre-trial defendants in jail carries more significant implications to their families, than their threat to society.
Public Hearing Report - October 2012 - Incarcerated Females: Breaking The Cycle
The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues held its annual public hearing on the topic of Incarcerated Females: Breaking the Cycle. In order to break the cycle, the Commission decided to look closely at repeat offenses and incarcerations among women. The Commission analyzed the cycle by looking at the circumstances that lead women to engage in the behavior for which they were either detained or incarcerated, and how women were treated while they were detained or incarcerated within our criminal justice system.
The Commission also analyzed the challenges that women face when they were released from jail and detected the signs of women at risk for recidivism. In addition, the Commission identified support services and programs that assist women in BREAKING THE CYCLE.
Public Hearing Report - October 2011 - The Mature Woman: Navigating Life’s Challenges to Live, Survive and Thrive
The Commission chose to examine how life decisions and available options affect the quality of life for women as they age. The hearing addressed challenges and solutions unique to aging women; some of the topics covered were how to ensure and assure physical and mental well being, how to effectively manage changing familial responsibilities, and how to make sound and secure economic decisions for present and future stability.
Public Hearing Report - October 2010 - Women and Girls Sex and Sexuality: Health and Harms
The Commission on Women’s Issues analyzed how violence, low self esteem, inadequate health care and educational gaps negatively impact women and girls’ thoughts and perceptions about sex and sexuality. The Commission also examined how to best address and reverse these harms by looking at programs which promote and encourage the positive physical, mental, emotional and sexual well-being of women and girls.
Public Hearing Report - October 2009 - Housing: A Basic Human Right
The Commission chose to scrutinize as how issues such as mortgage lending practices, the current foreclosure crisis, and the increase in evictions have a disparate impact on women, as well as how other policies, practices and laws may affect a woman’s ability to attain and retain housing, a basic human right.
Public Hearing Report - October 2008 - Economic Status of Women in Cook County: Strategies for Economic Empowerment
The Commission took a particular interest in gathering local statistics that depict the current status of women in Cook County. These essential issues impact the economic well-being of women.
Public Hearing Report - October 2007 - The Realities of Human Trafficking in Cook County: Strategies for Ending the Exploitation of Women and Girls
The Commission selected this topic because of the increased attention the media has given to human trafficking. Furthermore, the city of Chicago has been labeled a national hub for human trafficking because its large airport, central geographic location, and elaborate transportation infrastructure make it an ideal port of entry. Unfortunately, majority of the victims of human trafficking are women and girls.
The Commission recruited speakers to provide testimony on the impact that trafficking has upon women and girls, the extent of local involvement, and strategies for change. Speakers included survivors and individuals representing government agencies, community-based organizations, and law enforcement.
Public Hearing Report - October 2005 - Girl Violence and Aggression: Problems and Solutions
In October 2005, the Cook County Commission on Women's Issues, in partnership with GIRLS LINK, held its annual public hearing on the topic of "Girl Violence and Aggression: Problems and Solutions.
The Commission heard testimony from a range of speakers including girls, academics, government officials and girl-serving organizations. Speakers presented information on the complex causes of girl-on-girl violence, prevention measures, and recommendations for change.
This report is based on the information presented by the speakers at the hearing, current research and literature on girls and violence, and the Commission's work with various County agencies.
2005-2006 Annual Report of The Cook County Commission On Women's Issues
Throughout 2005 and 2006, the Commission continued its work by focusing on both the persistent concerns affecting the health, safety and economic well-being of the women and girls of Cook County, as well as emerging and overlooked issues facing those women and girls. This report provides an overview on this activity.