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How ‘Hidden Figures’ Is Continuing to Inspire the Next Generation of Female Leaders

The film has pushed the U.S. State Department to craft a publicly funded exchange program focused on fostering female leaders, #HiddenNoMore.

“Hidden Figures”

Hidden Figures” may no longer be in theaters, but the year’s most inspiring feature is continuing to impact change on the audiences that loved it best: the next generation of female leaders.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that “for the first time in the history of the U.S. State Department, a Hollywood movie has inspired a publicly funded exchange program, #HiddenNoMore, that will bring 50 women working in science, technology, engineering, and math in 50 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America to the United States.”

While the State’s International Visitor Leadership Program has existed for decades, THR reports that the attention heaped on the Ted Melfi film bolstered its appeal and notoriety. Set in the early sixties at the height of the Space Race, the feature follows the true stories of a trio of forgotten American heroes: real-life NASA employees Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson.

“This movie has taken on a life of its own and sparked things we’ve never seen before,” said Liba Rubenstein, head of social impact for 21st Century Fox. THR shares that, after “Hidden Figures” first bowed in late 2016, “the State Department called Fox saying it was being deluged with requests for the film from embassies. In April and May, it was screened in an unprecedented 80 or see overseas locales.”

“We really wanted to build on the momentum,” Stacy White, office director of the IVLP, of the idea for #HiddenNoMore, told THR.

The #HiddenNoMore program will assist the 50 participants as they travel around the country, where they will spend nearly a month meeting with various organizations — THR notes that those include universities and the Girl Scouts — that are dedicated to promoting STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) for women.

When IndieWire spoke to the women behind “Hidden Figures” last year, they all emphasized their hope that that women portrayed in the movie would inspire today’s up-and-coming talents. As Janelle Monáe said, “I hope that these women – Mary, Katherine, Dorothy – become their new superheroes. I hope that they look to these women whenever they get lost, or afraid, or scared, or they feel like they’re told their dreams are not valid because of their weight, or their sexual orientation, or the color of their skin — or because they’re a woman.”

Looks like that dream is starting to come true.

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