Tonight on my mom’s birthday, she suggested that my sisters and I watch the movie Hidden Figures with her. It’s based on the real story of the African-American women who played pivotal roles in the very early years of NASA’s space program. Because the main characters are black and female, throughout the film they’re faced with obstacles and discouragement that prevents them from doing their work or advancing forward. They continually push past these obstacles and make incredible contributions to NASA.
It was an inspiring movie for us to watch, especially as it’s about women blazing a trail in the field of STEM. My older sister is a senior software engineer, I just started working as one on a junior level, and my little sister loves to code as well. There’s a scene in the movie when the main character Katherine is talking to a man she’s just met. When it comes up that she is a mathematician for NASA, the man says he’s surprised that NASA lets women handle a job that is so taxing. Katherine indignantly tells him some of the things she does, and before walking away from him says, “And yes, they let women do things at NASA and it’s not because we wear skirts, it’s because we wear glasses.”
The women in this film, through intellect and hard work, ensured they accomplished their goals no matter what. While today I’ve heard it can still be difficult and uncommon for a woman to be an engineer, it would be a thousand times harder without the women in this film. These women paved the way for so many women today, and it’s wonderful to watch a movie celebrating what they did.