Nonprofit Launches Civic Engagement Initiative To Celebrate 100th Anniversary Of Women's Suffrage Movement, Prepare For Upcoming Election


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, a local nonprofit launched a series of panels focusing on women empowerment, voting rights and gender and racial equality in politics meant to get more women to the polls as the general election draws closer.

The Women’s Business Development Center launched its new civic engagement initiative, Raising Up the Vote Aug. 26 with a recorded conversation with Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

“From flying helicopters overseas to passing bills in the Senate, I’ve spent my entire life in male-dominated fields, but I’ve learned the good that arises from bringing different perspectives into the conversation,” said Duckworth in a statement. “It was an honor to join Women’s Business Development Center to celebrate 100 years of the 19th Amendment and discuss the legislative priorities that impact the lives of women of color. It’s so much more than just equal pay, paid family leave, and childcare — healthcare is a woman’s issue, the economy is a woman’s issue and national security is a woman’s issue.”

Raising Up the Vote aims to highlight the future of fair and equitable public policy by encouraging women, minorities, and all underrepresented groups to be involved within the public policy arena, said Emilia DiMenco, president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center.

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, we still have more work to do to ensure that voices of all women, especially women of color, and all diverse community members are heard and represented,” said DiMenco in a statement.

In addition to virtual panels and resources available online, the WBDC will launch its podcast series, Make Your Mark, on Sept. 21 that will cover topics ranging from wealth creation for women to equity in education. Former United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Cargill Vice President of North America Government Relations Kathryn Graves Unger, University of Minnesota President Joan T.A. Gabel, and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation Senior Vice President of Community Impact Pahoua Yang Hoffman will be a few of the podcast guests.