Governor Pat Quinn today announced the creation of the Governor's Advisory Council on Women, with the goal of strengthening the participation of women in Illinois' economic recovery.
"Women entrepreneurs are helping to drive the economic growth of our state. This advisory council will make sure we are eliminating barriers so they can reach their full potential as workers, employers and business owners," Governor Quinn said. "The women on this council have dedicated their lives to these issues, and I thank them for their service."
Co-chaired by Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas and Judy Gold, a nationally-recognized women's advocate, the volunteer council will be composed of non-elected female leaders from a variety of cultural, economic and professional backgrounds. The council will work to advance the role and participation of women in Illinois' economy and recovery.
The council will also work to increase the number of women in the engineering, science and technology fields, and support the development and growth of women-owned business enterprises. The council will recommend policy solutions to remove barriers to women in the workforce. It will examine issues that initially include pay inequities, financial literacy, child care, access to capital for small business owners, workforce development and job training, and educational opportunities.
"Women are a critical part of our economy and are playing an important role in our economic recovery." Thomas said. "I'm honored that Governor Quinn has asked me to co-chair this advisory council."
"Governor Quinn has a proven record of supporting issues important to women and girls. I commend him for that commitment and for establishing a women's council." Gold said. "I look forward to working with him, Deputy Governor Thomas and these committed appointees on this important project."
The members of the council are: Cristal Thomas, deputy governor; Judy Gold, a partner at Perkins Coie; Nancy Chen, former Region V director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau; Judy Rice, a vice-president at Harris Bank; Maria Pasquiera, president of Mujeras Latinas en Accion; Hedy Ratner, co-president of the Women's Business Development Center; Juliette Pryor, executive vice president, general counsel and chief ethics officer of U.S. Foodservice; and Amy Hilliard, president and chief executive officer of the Comfort Cake Company.
The council, which will meet at least four times over the next year, will make recommendations to the Governor on legislative and policy issues important to women and girls across Illinois.