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Cara Stands for Equity

We are among 100 Chicago organizations signing The Chicago Network’s Equity Principles pledge – a commitment to achieving equity at all levels, everywhere.

The Chicago Network (TCN), Chicago’s foremost organization of leading professional women, has launched The Chicago Network Equity Principles Campaign that aims to achieve 50% representation of women serving on company boards, as C-suite executives, and in senior management roles throughout Chicago-based organizations by 2030. The cornerstone of this new initiative is The Chicago Network Equity Principles, a pledge and toolkit that provides employers with clear, solutions­-driven guideposts to create a truly equitable workplace.

Cara is proud to be one of the first signers of The Equity Principles pledge – and can already report to having women comprise more than 65% of leadership and management across the organization. Other prominent Chicago-area organizations, representing sectors spanning higher education to public companies including Aon, Discover, and Kellogg Company, have also already pledged their support of The Equity Principles.

By adopting The Equity Principles, Chicago can be a leader in creating workplaces that provide equal opportunities for women to pursue leadership positions, empower women to define their own professional success, and promote a more productive and profitable workplace. From developing a pipeline of talent and promoting diversity, to creating flexible career paths and tracking progress, leaders signing The Equity Principles are committing to taking the necessary, measurable actions to improve the workplace.

“We are at an inflection point in society that presents a wonderful opportunity for us as business leaders to step up and work together to create a 50/50 workforce,” says Maria Kim, President & CEO of Cara. “We are thrilled to partner with The Chicago Network and pledge our support of The Equity Principles because at Cara we see the importance of creating a pathway for increased equality in the workforce in order to attract and retain top talent. It’s not just good business, its smart business.”

More information about The Equity Principles, including the full list of founding pledge partners, can be found here.

The Chicago Network is uniquely positioned to lead the citywide campaign for gender equity. The influence of TCN members – 500+ women leaders at the forefront of our city’s business, professional, cultural, nonprofit, and educational communities – reaches across all sectors and levels of Chicago.

“We know that when women take their seats at the table, businesses are more likely to reach their full potential – and that’s why we have established The Equity Principles,” says Kate Bensen, President and CEO of The Chicago Network. “Across the country, momentum is building. Movements like #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the Women’s March have emboldened a generation of women. The time is right for Chicago’s business and civic communities to build on that and truly lead the way in fostering equitable workplaces for women.”

TCN recognizes that achieving gender equity in the workplace is not only a social good but a business imperative. Years of research underscore the powerful economic impact of gender equity. In a city that is more than half female, Chicago cannot lose the economic opportunity in engaging future women leaders. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report shows that gender equity worldwide can lead to a $12-trillion increase in global GDP; and that by narrowing the gender gap in the workplace could increase the Chicago metro area GDP by $58 billion.

The Equity Principles were developed by TCN in collaboration with area-business and civic leaders across sectors in Chicago. By targeting gender equity by 2030, TCN is aligning with the globally recognized benchmark set by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, as well as a growing number of governance, public, private, and international organizations. By 2030, those
who join TCN in committing to The Equity Principles will strive to have workplaces in Chicago that are not only 50% female on average over time, but also where women have moved up the ranks so that at least 50% of employees in key management roles are women. The Equity Principles broaden the pathways for women’s advancement within organizations at all levels of employment, from entry­-level and mid-management roles to senior leadership positions.

As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, TCN believes that by working together toward gender equity within our workplaces, industries, and broader business community, we will create meaningful opportunities for women in Chicago and beyond.

About The Chicago Network
The Chicago Network is an organization of Chicago’s most influential women leaders. Their 500+ members are leaders at the forefront of our city’s business, professional, cultural, nonprofit, and educational communities. The Chicago Network’s purpose is to empower women to lead. Their mission is to connect with each other for personal and professional growth; advance our civic, business, and philanthropic communities; and inspire and support the next generation. The Chicago Network’s vision is gender equity. At all levels. Everywhere.

Learn more at wwww.thechicagonetwork.org.