Mae Benjamins daughter Melody works as Maes personal health care assistant.

Some experts say black women may bear the brunt if union membership declines or financial support lessens as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which decreed that public sector unions can no longer force workers they represent to pay fees in lieu of union dues. But conservative groups say the cost is justified to protect workers' free speech rights. 

A website that popped up this month asks a question as its URL: arethereanywomenrunningforilgovernor.com. It then very simply answers it with a bright red "NO." A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.


Donald Trump’s presidency has Illinois lawmakers weighing an issue not usually given as much attention in the General Assembly: abortion.


Since the 1970s, Illinois’ abortion laws have stayed mostly the same. Brigid Leahy, legislative director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, says legal-abortion advocates are now moving to stem the tide they see coming from Washington. “We haven’t done a proactive bill like this in a number of years,” she said.


Picture of Zylinska family
Magdelina Zylinska

Nearly half of Illinois children in households headed by single women live in poverty — compared with just over a quarter of children in households headed by single men.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Women in the 1960s wanted a voice, the freedom to stand up to men. In the mid-'70s, they crusaded for equity, the right to be treated the same as men.

Regardless of the candidate, I'm sick of the buzz about whether America is ready for a female president. Maybe voters don't think a woman can win, or maybe women voters in particular take special coercing to be won over by a female candidate.

Women in Prison
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"It's not enough to train somebody to be a good  inmate,'' she says. "You must translate those skills into them becoming a model citizen."

More than 2,200 women in Illinois' prison system left children at home last year while they served time. That's about 80 percent of the female prison population, most of which comes from the Chicago area. While relatives care for the kids, many of those moms are learning to parent by phone, by letter or by teleconference.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Sally Jefferson arrived at Alton Penitentiary on September 11, 1835. A prison clerk’s brief notation in the Convict Register marked the occasion. “No. 23,” the clerk wrote, had been sentenced by the Peoria County Circuit Court to 12 months of confinement for arson, including two weeks in solitary. She was 24 years old. “Her left hand and arm had been considerably seared by a burn when young.”