Hidden No More: Here’s how the State Department is Empowering International Women Leaders in STEM

August 18, 2017

The award-winning film Hidden Figures inspired viewers across the world with the true story of the courageous and talented African American women whose contributions at NASA in the 1960s significantly contributed to getting the first U.S. astronaut into orbit.  

Throughout 2017, U.S. Embassies and Consulates in more than 80 countries have screened the movie for international audiences, generating discussions on race, gender equality, and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.  In the wake of these successful screenings, Hidden Figures has inspired an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) titled “Hidden No More: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM” set for October 2017.

This three-week program will bring 50 women global leaders who represent “hidden talent” in their home countries to the United States to cultivate relationships with their American counterparts and examine women’s contributions to STEM through research and development; education and teaching; leadership; and public policy formation.

Participants will explore best practices in the effective recruitment, training, and development of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM and learn how they can institutionalize opportunities for women in their own countries. The film’s distributor, 20th Century Fox, is providing significant support to the program, helping to arrange meetings at both National Geographic and at the studios in Los Angeles for the participants. The participants will begin in Washington, D.C. and end in Los Angeles, visiting two additional cities in between.

Two of the stars of Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, have already voiced their support for the program on Twitter.