Open Letter to Mayor Emanuel on Maternity Leave

07/14/2011 05:59 pm ET | Updated Sep 13, 2011
  • K. Sujata President/CEO, Chicago Foundation for Women

Dear Mayor Emanuel:

In February of this year I called upon Chicago's next mayor to invest in women and girls and described key steps that could be taken to make our city a a thriving community. Yesterday's news that you plan to institute paid maternity leave for city employees moves our city firmly in the right direction. On behalf of Chicago Foundation for Women, I am writing to thank you for your recent decision to institute paid maternity leave for City of Chicago employees. Fundamentally, your view that paid maternity leave is a win-win solution is spot on.

As the Institute for Women's Policy Research and countless others have demonstrated, an employer with paid maternity leave attracts bright young women to work for it, increases employee retention and job satisfaction, and makes the organization a model employer of women. Your view that Chicago can "come into the 21st Century" is a welcome advance -- and we are delighted that women's economic security is part of your vision for our new century.

With favorable benefits like this, women are more likely to succeed and move up in city government, therefore diversifying the pipeline of leadership and changing the current and future face of civic leadership. "This policy will open doors for women, ensuring that raising healthy families and building successful careers are no longer so hard to reconcile," says Chicago Foundation for Women's Board Chair Andrea S. Kramer, who also chairs the Gender Diversity Committee at the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Again, thank you on behalf of Chicago Foundation for Women and all the women and girls with whom we work. We look forward to working with your administration on additional policies that advance the health, safety and economic security of Chicago's women and their families. We believe that when women and girls are secure, whole communities are made better.


K. Sujata