Have you checked out the stats for the number of women who are architects or in STEM related professions in this country? How about women of color?
20% of registered architects in the United States are women. Approximately 25% of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) positions in the U.S. are held by women. And yet, women in STEM jobs earn on average, 33% percent more than women in non-STEM positions. With nearly half of the jobs in the U.S. being held by women, these statistics represent some unfortunate disparities. Factor in socio-economic backgrounds and all of a sudden the statistics for women of color in STEM or design jobs are quite frankly incredibly depressing. Missed opportunities on so very many levels? You betcha…..oh my god, yes.
This summer, we are excited to start working with two organizations in Chicago who are striving to ameliorate this situation while improving the Roseland neighborhood of the city. Sherida Morrison of Demoiselle 2 Femme and Katherine Darnstadt of Latent Design and Architecture For Humanity Chicago are two of the best people you can know, seriously. Katherine, through her own practice and as the leader of one of the most robust chapters of Architecture For Humanity in the U.S. is doing great grassroots community design work in Chicago. Sherida launched Demoiselle 2 Femme to, ‘provide holistic services, education, instruction and training to assist adolescent females in a successful transition to womanhood.”. Sherida’s goal–and she is well on her way– is for D2Femme to be ‘a model for social change through the spiritual and personal development of young women who positively impact the world as future leaders.’. Sherida and Katherine are working together to create a new community center–the H.O.P.E. Center For Girls–of national renown for the organization to house its neighborhood programming and services, including Femme2STEM, a program that helps prepare young ladies futures in STEM related industries.
We couldn’t be more excited to help the team create a model program that will redefine how a youth services organization engages its constituency to design an innovative building and new services that best meet the needs of the neighborhood, organization, and in this case, the ladies themselves. Our initial D2Femme Community Design Leader Boot Camp will take place in late July and early August.
The D2Femme Community Design Leadership Boot Camp is a two week intensive design workshop for teenage girls from the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago that empowers them to find and help solve problems in their community through science and design thinking. This ‘doing’ camp preferences action over simulation, growing from the firm beliefs that young adults are both some of our most important agents of change in their communities and that creating opportunities for them to directly change or impact of the world around them are critical for helping them grow into powerful leaders.
It will not only generate important information, data, and ideas for the new community center but will also start growing a cadre of young female community design leaders in Roseland, and serve as a pilot project to help us design innovative ongoing STEM + community design leadership programming for the young ladies at D2Femme.