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Rep. Kelly Announces Federal Grant Promoting Women’s Right to Equal Pay

September 27, 2021

MATTESON, IL – Today, Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-02) announced that the Illinois Department of Labor was awarded a $350,000 federal grant to partner with Women Employed to raise awareness about pay equity and pay transparency standards among women workers, particularly low-wage women of color.

“Too many women have little to no knowledge of pay ranges and the appropriate standards of compensation,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “Unprincipled employers too often take advantage of this lack of awareness and pay female workers the lowest wages. Low-wage women of color are most at risk for wage exploitation. This grant will enable Women Employed to get the word out about fair wages and just compensation, particularly to those most vulnerable. Knowledge is power and this will give women the power to demand their rightful wages and be a part of our nation’s economic recovery and prosperity.”

“Women Employed's work has been rooted in advancing pay equity for nearly 50 years and we are excited to partner with the Illinois Department of Labor to raise awareness of pay equity and pay transparency standards and listen to the experiences of women workers, particularly low-paid women of color,” said Cherita Ellens, president and CEO of Women Employed. “Centering the voices and expertise of these workers will strengthen Illinois’ capacity to enforce these and other employment protections, thus helping realize the intended outcomes of legislative action, inform enforcement strategies and more proactive investigations, and advance gender and racial equity statewide.”

Women Employed is a non-profit advocacy organization with the mission of improving the economic status of women and removing barriers to economic equity. Women Employed continuously pursues equity for women in the workforce—with a particular focus on low-paid and Black and Latina/x women—by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces. Since 1973, Women Employed has worked to open doors, break down barriers, and create fundamental, systemic change for working women.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a total of $2 million in grant funding to organizations to develop partnerships with community-based organizations and other non-profits to conduct outreach to low-income and marginalized women workers to help them understand and exercise their rights and benefits in the workplace. The Fostering Access to Rights and Equity grants are administered jointly by the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration.