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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Feb. 29, 2020 -  To make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology, the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation launched a multi-stakeholder study to understand the state of girls and women in technology – what drives them, what challenges them and what makes them stay. The results provide actionable insights and resources for tech executives, HR leaders, educators and parents.

"Explore, Focus and Grow: A Technology Career Journey in Michigan" includes findings from conversations with middle school girls participating in technology camps, surveys with university students and women working in technology. Through each life stage, a technology career attracts girls and women with opportunities to create positive impact, solve problems and be creative. As she progresses in college, she is focused on learning and concerned by how a lack of representation will impact her. When established in her career, she becomes motivated by stability and financial rewards, and grows concerned with being valued equally, seizing growth opportunities, and balancing career with other priorities.

"This study revealed fresh data on what motivates girls and women to choose technology over other fields, which in turn provides insights for the teachers and role models in their lives to show how this field matches those interests and desires," said Chris Rydzewski, MCWT executive director. "What's more, we see how MCWT programs, such as Camp Infinity and Girls GET-IT, are engaging girls and igniting their tech interest. And while we know there is always more work to do, the study suggests that we are gaining ground in our vision of making Michigan the top state for women in technology."

Top study findings:

Family Members a Primary Influence: Of those surveyed, middle school girls and university students have a family member in tech. While many girls said they interact through technology with peers, few cite them as a source for learning about computing.

Early Computer Education Sparks Interest: Some girls recall experiences they had in early elementary. More than half of university students cite a computer class teacher as having been very influential in their choice of study.

Motivations: Helping Others, Creativity, Problem Solving, Learning: Women university students are most excited about the prospect of applying their love for problem solving to improving the lives of others and society at large. They are drawn to technology to help others (33%), be creative (22%), innovate (19%), constantly learn (14%) and solve problems (10%).

Role Models Address University Student Concerns: University students express concerns about the lack of representation in the field (26%) and their own lack of confidence (23%).

Women Seek a Technology Career Path for Security and Personal Fulfillment: Many see the field as growing, providing solid career prospects and a stable demand for talent, while believing tech will provide satisfaction and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Growth Opportunities Drive Commitment and Success: Professional women consistently highlight four growth opportunities that keep them engaged and motivated: training and development, mentorship, opportunities to lead, and being given new challenges.

Lack of Representation and Gender Bias Biggest Challenges Facing Young Women: Professional women are most likely to list a lack of representation (34%) and gender bias (27%). This echoes a concern by female university students.

Flexible Schedules Can Attract and Retain Talent: Offering flexible schedules is seen as the most effective recruitment tactic by 35% of professional women. It's also a top mention in ways that employers have encouraged their careers.

Highlighting Women in Leadership Makes an Impact: Nearly all professional women (95%) said highlighting women in leadership positions was very to somewhat effective when recruiting female talent.

Michigan is Ideal for a Technology Career: Advantages Michigan has over other states include low cost of living (47%), urban culture and natural beauty in proximity (45%), high quality of life (43%) and culturally diverse communities (40%).

MCWT interviewed or surveyed some 500 people from different groups. It was made possible by support from Ford Motor Company.

Get the full report at Infographics available upon request.

MCWT's vision is to make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology. MCWT supports Michigan's female IT workforce, students, corporate partners, schools and the community with programming, scholarships, networking, learning, mentoring, and technology experiences. Learn more at Connect via LinkedIn, and Facebook.

SOURCE Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation

NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2020 -- Weeksville Heritage Center presents an opening reception for Brooklyn-based artist Damien Davis's solo exhibition, COLLAPSE: Black Wall Street Study, on Friday, January 24 at 6pm.  Collapse investigates the history of Greenwood, the historic freedom colony in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood was one of the most prominent communities for African-American businesses during the early 20th century and was popularly known as America's "Black Wall Street" until 1921, when white residents massacred as many as 300 black residents, injuring hundreds more and razed the neighborhood within hours. The exhibit puts Greenwood in conversation with historic Weeksville, located in modern-day Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and was itself one of the largest free Black communities of pre-Civil War America.

COLLAPSE: Black Wall Street Study re-centers oppressed narratives, by acknowledging both the inherent danger of taking up space as a black person, and by developing strategies to infiltrate and reframe these same narratives. Through Davis' use of laser cut plexiglass, plastics, wood, geometry and color theory, a lexicon of shapes ignite conversations about currency, community and the effects of hyper visibility on the black body. The use of iridescent golds and silvers often associated with affluence, wealth, luxury and power are applied to his artwork. Through his use of these seductive materials and surfaces, space opens for more difficult conversations to occur.

"Many artists now are producing work that places an emphasis on the acknowledgement of ancestral trauma, as well as a need for corrective action through the research, self-care, archiving, and transformation of that trauma," Davis noted in a statement. "As we near the hundredth anniversary of the Greenwood massacre, and as reparations are hotly debated in Washington, setting the stage for an open dialogue on the progress that has (or has not) been made is more important than ever."

- by: Weeksville Heritage Center

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