Tell Us What Was Most Memorable About "Hidden Figures" (Part 1)

All of us at NCWIT have been inspired by “Hidden Figures,” and we are so excited to celebrate the book and film at the 2017 NCWIT Summit this month! Author Margot Lee Shetterly will join us as a keynote speaker, and we will also honor Screenwriter Allison Schroeder with the Reel WiT Award, which recognizes the best portrayal of leading women in tech (e.g., documentary, tv show, film, YouTube, etc.) who serve as role models for girls and women with computing aspirations while disrupting the stereotypes of female ingenuity in technology fields.

As we near the 2017 NCWIT Summit and the end of our six-month celebration of “Hidden Figures,” we are sharing your thoughts on this inspiring film. 

This is the first post in a three-part blog. Be sure to catch up with the additional posts in the series here and here.

How will the story of the women in “Hidden Figures” impact your life tomorrow?

“As a woman working in the cybersecurity field, I see this type of story happen every day. We need to keep showing our skills, and knowledge, and willingness to work and be heard.” - Tonia

“I found out there are homeless children in Spring Branch Independent School District, where I live. This is the energy corridor in Houston, and this should not be. This story inspires me to find those kids, and make sure they have the opportunity to study computer science. As a White House Champion of Change for CS Education, I know I must continue to be a change agent.” - Karen

Which scene did you find the most surprising? Why?

“The scene in which Kazimierz Czarnecki tells Mary she should be an engineer. Even in the book, he had to really support her through the bureaucracy at Langley so she could become an engineer. We need champions in our corner while navigating Corporate America.” - Laurinda

Which scene did you find most relatable to you? Why?

“The scene in which Harrison (Kevin Costner) tells all the team they'll need to call their wives and stay late until they find a solution. The team is almost all men, all dressed alike, in white button-down shirts and black ties, with Katherine wearing a green dress and the other woman in the office wearing a gray one. The assumption that there is a ‘wife at home’ to take care of everything is still prevalent today and still hurts working women.” - Hagit

“The scenes where they were questioned about whether they really worked as computers for NASA by the trooper and Col. Johnson, as though that was unbelievable. We all run into this problem of being continually underestimated based on racial and/or gender stereotypes.” -  Stacy

“In the first scene, this film reminded me of my early schooling when I enjoyed mathematics. I spent the next several days looking back into my own history to learn when I lost that enjoyment. I realized that in my adult life, I've shied away from any opportunity involving math. I took a course that relied on basic statistics, which reignited my passion. As I work on MBA applications, I'm considering data/analytics majors in a way I never had before.” - Emily

“I could relate to the scene where Mary Jackson has to go to court just be able to take night classes in order to become an engineer.  In my career I have struggled to be able to use available resources to advance my education and complete an MBA. Though the employee manual said the support was available, there was a convoluted process to obtain the documentation and recommendations to actually use the benefit. And, this was in the 1990s.” - Sharon

What was your most valuable takeaway from the movie?

“We must build on where we agree, and stop tearing down those we don’t agree with. In “Hidden Figures,” the computers did not destroy their community -- they found solutions while following the unfair rules. They did not ask others for help -- they were proactive leaders. They taught themselves to program the new IBM computer at NASA, as they knew their jobs were coming to an end. When the rules were changed to prevent blacks from being engineers, a computer went to court and legally had a waiver passed so she could get her advanced degree.” - Karen