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  • 2024

    Women’s History Month 2024

    March is Women's History Month. During this month we look back and celebrate the contributions that women have made not only to our history, but also our workforce. Illinois workNet is excited about the strides women have made. While there is more work and progress to be made, it is important to recognize the contributions and influence women have had in different industries in the past and present. Read our article for Women's History Month that shows examples of influential women.

    The International Women's Day website offers resources to empower women in the workforce, improve equality, and celebrate women forging changes in industries. The City of Chicago designated March 8, 2023 as "Women Employed Day in Chicago" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Women Employed and their impact on removing barriers to improve the economic status of women.

    Women's HERstory Month

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) celebrates Women's HERstory Month. Throughout March, DCEO is hosting events, elevating financial and social capital resources to advance women-owned businesses, and spotlighting contributions of women-owned businesses in Illinois. Browse unique women artisans, bakers, and entrepreneurs who are part of the Illinois Made program through DCEO Office of Tourism on Enjoy Illinois. Learn how to get involved, attend events, use the social media toolkit, and find additional resources to support women-owned businesses on DCEO's Women's HERstory Month 2024 page.

    DCEO's Upcoming Webinars

    Overview of Financial Capital Resources for Small Businesses

    Wednesday | March 6, 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 am | Virtual | Register

    Tailored for businesses of all stages & industries.

    Is access to financial capital important for your business? During the monthly Online with OMEE series, Team OMEE provides the latest financial capital resources (grants, loans, etc.) offered across the sectors, along with other opportunities and updates for business owners. 

    Connecting HER with Illinois Business Resources

    Wednesday | March 6, 2024 | 12:30 – 3:00 pm | In-person in Mattoon at Elevate CCIC, Inc. at Cross County Mall | Register

    Tailored for women-owned businesses of all stages & industries, future women business owners, & aspiring female entrepreneurs, with attendees from different geographical regions and of all genders welcome to join and learn.

    Please join us for a community presentation focused on inspiring, connecting, and advancing Illinois women-owned businesses, future women business owners, and aspiring female entrepreneurs with business resources and opportunities offered across Illinois' entrepreneurial ecosystem. During this free, in-person resource presentation & conversation, we will also answer your questions. As a light lunch will be served by Leaders Innovating for Tomorrow (LIFT) students as courtesy of Coles Together, please register early! 

    Presenting organizations include: DCEOIL SBDC at Elevate-EIUFamily Business Center at Loyola UniversityFuture FoundersU.S. SBAWomen's Business Development Center, and Women Employed

    Overview of Mentoring Programs for Women Entrepreneurs

    Thursday | March 21, 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 am | Virtual | Register here

    Tailored for women-owned businesses of all stages and industries, future women business owners, and aspiring female entrepreneurs, with all genders welcome to join.

    Looking to join an accelerator/cohort/mentoring program to take your company or business idea to the next level? During Team RED's Office Hours, the entrepreneurial ecosystem will share their tailored programs with you during DCEO's Women's HERstory Month celebrating Illinois women-owned businesses, future women business owners, and aspiring female entrepreneurs. 

    1st Annual Asian Women's Summit

    Friday | March 22, 2024 | 8:30 am – 1:00 pm | In-person at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in Chicago | Register here

    Tailored for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) professional women from all sectors and AAPI university female students, with attendees from all backgrounds (genders/ethnicities/races/etc.) welcome to join.

    Get empowered and inspired by Asian women leaders from diverse sectors and industries who will share resources, advice, and stories at the 1st Annual Asian Women's Summit in Chicago. The summit is presented by co-hosts Aurora Austriaco, Mark Hands and Clarita Santos, together with the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago (PACCGC)The Federal Reserve Bank of ChicagoHealth Care Service Corporation (HCSC)Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's (DCEO)- Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE)Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (AACCIL)South Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, and Valentine Austriaco and Bueschel, P.C. 

    Your Rights are Important

    Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) and Women Employed are raising awareness of pay equity and equal pay rights for women workers through the Fostering Access Rights and Equity (FARE) Grant. The Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibits employers to pay men and women unequal wages for doing the same work. To learn about your rights, commonly asked questions, and how you can spread the word, visit Women Employed Know Your Rights

    Read about the amendment to the Equal Pay Act of 2003 that prevents employers from asking a candidate's previous wage during the hiring process in Illinois workNet's No Salary History article

    In time for Women's History month, the Illinois Department of Human Rights published a non-regulatory guide on Pregnancy Rights and Related Protections in Illinois featuring scenarios and examples of discrimination in the workplace, healthcare, schools, and other public settings. The new guide intends to prevent discrimination to help residents, employers, businesses, and providers understand rights and responsibilities. 

    Follow our Event Calendar for upcoming eventsexplore career fields women are emerging in, and connect with us on social media as we use the hashtags #WomensHistoryMonth #ILWHM2024 throughout the month: