The recently-released movie “Hidden Figures,” starring Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, and Octavia Spencer, is making waves. The movie tells the true story of three African-American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, whose abilities in math, science, and engineering helped send the first American astronauts into space. The movie is a celebration of women and women of color, and their ability to flourish in STEM fields. Given its inspirational messages, the movie has attracted the attention of numerous grassroots campaigns aimed at raising money to help girls see the movie and be exposed to such compelling female role models in STEM fields. One of the persistent reasons for the lack of female participation in STEM fields is the dearth of role models for girls and young women.
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Taylor Richardson, a 13-year-old aspiring astronaut from Florida, is raising money to send 100 girls to see Hidden Figures, at a theater in Jacksonville, Florida. So far, she has raised over $5000 — well above her $2,000 goal. Over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, Octavia Spencer, bought all the tickets for the film at a theater in Los Angeles, and then gave them out for free to families who could not have afforded to go see the film otherwise. Teachers are also getting excited about the film, raising money and blocking out class time to take the girls (and the boys) in their classes to enjoy the film. For example, Peter Modlin, a teacher at a Baltimore elementary school, has raised close to $1,500 to take the female students in the first through fifth grade classes to see the film. The attention and excitement that the film has gained represents a promising step towards starting a serious conversation about the lack of women in STEM fields. No matter what, the film is showing young girls around the country that they have the potential to reach for the stars.
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Source: 20th Century Fox