Since 1979, women members of the Illinois General Assembly have come together to discuss significant issues. The Conference of Women Legislators, now known as COWL, was inspired by the bi-partisan focus of two legislators, Eugenia Chapman (D) and Mary Dwyer (R), to encourage female legislators from both side of the aisle to work in a bi-partisan fashion to advance the interest of all women, children and families, through state, local and federal initiatives.
Today, the members of this growing, vital organization report that COWL is a sure way to have a voice in Springfield. It is a positive arena for change by serving as a forum for Illinois women legislators to join with colleagues to provide opportunities through workshops and roundtables to discuss issues of concern in the state.
As a non-profit organization, COWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience. This provides an opportunity to share information on issues such as the budget, health care, child care, elder care, education, business, and economic development, crime prevention, and the environment.
In addition, membership is open to male legislators who also avail themselves of our study findings when considering their decisions on issues.