President’s Message

These past few years have been a challenge to many of us, especially women. We have seen women bear the burden of COVID-19 in so many ways – as wives, as mothers, as caretakers, as attorneys, as workers. Federal data shows that men are entering the job market in droves despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Women are not. From February 2020 to January 2022 1.1 million women left the labor force during that time, accounting for 63% of all jobs lost. COVID-19 has shed light on how the pandemic impacts genders in different ways. Part of this is because women still take on the majority of caregiver responsibilities. For women with children this disparity is even more significant. When children are unable to go to school, it is most likely the woman who is going to stay home with the child. 

I became a mother during the COVID-19 pandemic and am so grateful that I work for a company that prioritizes paid family leave for their workers. As I am now expecting my second child, I continue to think about all the mothers, fathers and families who do not have access to paid family leave. In the United States, only 10 states have paid family leave. Illinois is NOT one of these states.  Statistics show that providing workers with paid family and medical leave ensures that they are able to take extended leave, with pay, to care for a new child, recover from a serious illness or care for an ill family member, and that they are able to return to their job afterward. Women who are provided with a paid family leave policy are more likely to reenter the workforce after childbirth as compared to women who are not provided with paid leave. 

What can we do about these unbalanced statistics? Advocate. We can advocate for women. We can advocate for women and their families. We can advocate for our future. 

As President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, I pledge to you that we will continue to advocate for women. We will advocate for paid family leave.

Today I ask you to join us in our fight for women, not only in the State of Illinois, but in the United States of America. Together we can make a change. Together we can make a difference. 

Lauren Witkowski
WBAI President 2022-2023

“What can we do about these unbalanced statistics? Advocate. We can advocate for women. We can advocate for women and their families. We can advocate for our future.”