Who is Barbara Yong ?
Barbara Yong has been a practicing attorney for nearly 30 years. She is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Golan & Christie LLP where she practices in the areas of bankruptcy and commercial litigation.
Barbara has belonged to BPW since 1989. She has held every leadership position in her LO, BPW LaGrange-Chicago, including LO President several times.
Barbara was State President in Illinois in 2007-2008 and is currently the State Parliamentary Advisor.
Barbara attended many National Conferences and served on the BPW-USA PAC and Membership committees. She also served on the Advisory Committee which helped form EPW-USA and attended its inaugural meeting in Las Vegas. Barbara has also helped form three new local organizations – a lunchtime group that meets in Downtown Chicago, and two Samothrace (college-age) clubs at Northwestern University and Syracuse University.
In 1990, Barbara attended the BPW/USA National Conference in Minneapolis and recalls speaking against National pulling out of BPW/USA. She has treasured her membership in BPW International both because of her global perspective and because of her family heritage. Her family emigrated to the U.S. from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s. Her husband, Jim, is Chinese. He was born in Hong Kong and his parents are from a small farming village in Southern China near Guangzhou. Jim’s parents, Seck Wah and Toy Yong, live with Barb and Jim, and their three children, Jenny, Mimi and Jamie. Barbara was also BPW/Illinois’ first Diversity Chair.
Barbara has also been a powerful advocate for women’s rights generally and for pay equity specifically. Barbara is a frequent speaker on the topic of The Wage Gap: Does it Exist and What Can we Do About It. She is a founding member of the Illinois WAGE Hub which coordinates the activities of the WAGE Project in Illinois. WAGE stands for “Women Are Getting Even.” The WAGE Project was founded by Evelyn Murphy, co-author of Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men – and What To Do About It. Barbara is also a member of the BPW International Equal Pay Day Task Force.
Two and a half years ago, Barbara got the idea of getting women to come together for a rally on Equal Pay Day in the heart of downtown Chicago at the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza, which is home to the world famous Picasso sculpture. Her goals were to raise awareness of the wage gap, to let elected officials know that women are serious in their demand for pay equity legislation and to get all of the women’s organizations that work on pay equity issues to join together for a single event. Barbara co-chaired last year’s rally and a second even more successful rally this year.
The first Equal Pay Day Rally was held last year on April 12, 2011. It brought together 12 separate organizational sponsors, featured Evelyn Murphy and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon as keynote speakers, drew about 125 people to the plaza, but had very little media coverage.
This year’s rally nearly doubled in size and added 16 additional organizational sponsors, bringing the number to 28. In addition to BPW/IL, EPW-USA, AAUW and Women Employed, sponsors include several federal, state and local government agencies and a few Hispanic and Asian American groups. Media coverage also grew dramatically including several television networks, radio stations and newspapers. And plans are already underway for next year’s rally.