Michigan Women's Commission Launches 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge; Announces New 2020-21 Priorities

Contact: Vicki Levengood levengoodv@michigan.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 1, 2020

LANSING, MI–The Michigan Women’s Commission (MWC) today launched two 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge learning cohorts and announced four new committees to address the Commission’s policy priorities for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.

Starting last October, the Commission hosted several Gender Equity Conversations around the state to hear directly from Michigan women about the policy issues they deem top priorities to move us closer to gender equity.

The Commission’s Vice Chair, Muna Jondy, said, “Across all conversations and all issue areas, conversation participants asked the Commission to directly and openly address implicit bias and systemic racism as it relates to the Commission’s policymaking work. The 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge learning cohorts and the formation of the Implicit Bias Committee are vital first steps of this important work."

To begin the work around implicit bias, the Commission is launching the first in an ongoing series of 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge learning cohorts, developed by and shared in partnership with the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP).  

“We’re pleased to share our 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge with the Michigan Women’s Commission as they pursue their new priorities,” said Gilda Jacobs, President and CEO of the League. “We know that truly equitable solutions to the challenges women face require an understanding of how racism impacts policy decisions and outcomes.”

By enrolling in an MWC Challenge cohort, participants will receive a daily email from the Commission for 21 consecutive days. Each email will contain a tool or resource to guide their learning, as well as a link to the League's online discussion forum for that day's topic.

People registered for the MWC Challenge cohort will also receive an invitation to participate in a facilitated live reflection conversation with fellow participants at the completion of each week’s cohort. These conversations will take place online using Microsoft Teams Meetings and will last no more than 60 minutes, depending on level of engagement.

Each cohort is limited to 25 participants. If a cohort has reached capacity, individuals will be placed on a waiting list for a future cohort. This opportunity is first-come first-accepted, with no other factors determining acceptance or wait-listing. To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/ybqczy7l

The Commission also announced the creation of four new committees to address their priorities for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.

“In addition to a focus on implicit bias, Michigan women called for renewed attention to pay equity, affordable and accessible childcare, and more women in leadership on corporate, foundation and nonprofit boards,” Cheryl Bergman, MWC Executive Director said. “The Commission used these findings to inform our strategic planning retreat in early March and to form new working committees at our May 20, 2020, virtual public meeting."

The Michigan Women’s Commission’s new committees are:

Committee on Implicit Bias: An overarching committee to provide ongoing learning opportunities for Commissioners to identify, acknowledge and minimize implicit bias in themselves and within the Commission, and to develop a common language and lens to guide the Commission’s work. When appropriate, these learning opportunities will be shared with the public, such as the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.

Unlocking Opportunities Committee: Defined as initiatives that remove barriers to work for women. Examples of issues that will be addressed include affordable and accessible childcare, expanded paid parental leave and paid caregiver leave.

Financial Freedom Committee: Defined as actions to close pay gaps and increase access to greater income for women. Examples include proposals to achieve greater pay equity, increase wage and salary transparency, increase women’s access to education and training for higher-paying jobs, and micro-loans and business incentives for women-owned businesses.

Visible Authentic Leadership Committee: Defined as policies that will increase the number of women serving in publicly visible leadership roles across sectors. Examples include incentives for promoting more women into corporate executive leadership, increasing the number of women serving on corporate, foundation and nonprofit boards, and encouraging more women to run for elected office at all levels of government.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer participated in every one of the Commission’s Gender Equity Conversations. “I found it vitally informative to join the Commission in meeting and talking with Michigan women about their concerns and ideas for progress,” said Governor Whitmer. “I’m proud to do my part to advance equitable solutions from the Governor’s office, and I look forward to the initiatives and recommendations that will come from the Commission’s new committees.”

The 15-member Michigan Women’s Commission was created by statute in 1968. Commission duties include reviewing the status of women in Michigan, direction attention to critical problems confronting women, recommending ways of overcoming discrimination, enabling women to develop skills, conducting surveys, and recognizing women’s accomplishments and contributions to Michigan. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and serve three-year terms. To learn more about the Michigan Women’s Commission, go to Michigan.gov/mwc.

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