The Commission on Women’s Issues is dedicated to providing educational seminars and forums to enhance public knowledge and discussion of women’s issues in and beyond Cook County. Recent events include:
February 21, 2011 – “Girls on the Wall” (5th and 6th Districts, Governor’s State University)
This event consisted of a screening of the film “Girls on the Wall,” a musical written by and starring incarcerated teenage girls from the juvenile prison in Warrenville, IL. In the film, the girls re-live their crimes and search for redemption. Following the viewing, a discussion was led by Mariame Kaba, executive director of Project Nia, which oversaw the making of the film. The Commission on Women’s Issues cosponsored this event with Governors State University as part of its annual recognition of Black History Month.
March 29, 2011 – Hurting in Silence: Breaking the Barrier – A discussion on bullying (8th District)
The Commission on Women’s Issues presented this discussion along with Hon. Edwin Reyes, commissioner of Cook County’s 8thDistrict. The conversation was geared toward issues of teen bullying and how to prevent it.
May 24, 2011 – Young Women’s Healthy Choices Forum (10th, 12th and 13th Districts, At-Large Commissioners)
This forum, held at Senn High School in Chicago, provided a candid discussion of issues faced by girls and young women, including physical health, healthy relationships, and overcoming the media’s portrayal of women and girls. This event was presented in collaboration between the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues and the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
June 11, 2011 – Human Trafficking Community Forum (3rd District, AKArama Foundation, Inc.)
This community forum addressed the topic of human trafficking, examining what human trafficking is, who is affected, how it impacts a community, and the resources available to fight the issue. This event was cosponsored by the Commission on Women’s Issues and AKArama Foundation of the Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
The Commission also collaborates with government and nonprofit agencies for projects and events pertaining to girls’ and women’s issues. This includes the celebration of county proclamations honoring women’s rights.
Equal Pay Day
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle proclaimed April 17, 2012, as Equal Pay Day, in honor of the value of women’s skills and contributions to the workplace. She called on all employers of Cook County to provide equal pay for work. The resolution cited the creation of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues “to address the concerns and economic well-being of women and girls in Cook County.” Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle proclaimed August 26, 2011, as Women’s Equality Day in Cook County. The day marked the 91st anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. The Commission on Women’s Issues co-sponsored a rally and performances that day in Chicago, honoring the newfound Women’s Equality Day in Cook County.
Lilly Ledbetter Day
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle proclaimed September 14, 2011, as Lilly Ledbetter Day in Cook County, in honor of Lilly Ledbetter, a champion of equal pay for women. The proclamation was made in conjunction with a luncheon held by the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, at which Ledbetter spoke and was recognized as a Woman of Influence. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama after he took office in 2009.
Glass Slipper Project, April 2011 & 2012
The Glass Slipper Project is a nonprofit organization that provides free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland area. New and almost-new formal dresses are collected and provided free of charge to students unable to purchase their own prom attire. The Commission on Women’s Issues helps implement these efforts in Cook County communities by co-sponsoring the Glass Slipper Project.