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WomEng Attends Pre-screening of the Movie, Hidden Figures

iWednesday, Mar 1st, 2017 comments by Amien

WomEng alumni, volunteers and staff stepped out of their overalls and onto the red-carpet attending the exclusive pre-screening of the movie Hidden Figures, in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 23 February 2017. The event was hosted by the Psi Tau Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, in association with the U.S. Mission to South Africa and IBM.

“Hidden Figures” is described as the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. You can watch the trailer here (trust us, it is amazing!).

A panel discussion before the screening of the movie set the right tone in illustrating the power of women in today’s world. Panelists at the Johannesburg event included:

  • Mille Camille Agon – Co-Founder and Director of WeThink Code
  • Dr. Buyisiwe Sondezi – Founder of DrBS Consulting, Dr. Buyi Sondezi STEM Bridge Foundation and Dr. Buyi Sondezi Ministries International
  • Taryn Tim - Senior Business Analyst at ThoughtWorks Pan Africa
  • Nomso Kana - Founder and Managing Director of Sun ‘n Shield Technologies and Blaze Away South Africa
  • Tina L. Taylor - Founder and Chairman of Heritage Leadership Academy, Inc. (HLA) and Founder and CEO of Heritage STEM Camps, Inc. (HSC)

These women, powerhouses in their own right, left the audience in awe of their achievements and invaluable contribution to the sciences, much like the key characters in the movie. The energy was electric and the movie did not fail to deliver on the hype. WomEng team member Rofhiwa Londola aptly described the inspiration she gained from the panel discussion and movie as such, “One can overcome any challenges with the power of working as a team and self-belief.” 

As little girls, we are often taught to be cautious and to be modest about our abilities. Hidden Figures has inspired us to break the mold and embrace the incredible ways of thinking that we, as women, have to offer the world. This multi-Oscar nominated movie has shined a spotlight on STEM education and careers, with a particular positive and uplifting statement on breaking stereotypes about the traditional roles of women in society.. At WomEng, we are particularly excited about this as it is in direct alignment with our #1MillionGirlsinSTEM campaign focussed on inspiring and educating girls around the world through STEM education and awareness initiatives.

Mercy Dada, a civil engineering Master’s student and WomEng Fellow 2016, had the following to say, “It was very inspring. The movie taught me to do all that it takes to achieve my goals and not to be discouraged by circumstances. Passion is very important if I am to make a difference in the world. Without an intense desire to effect change, nothing big can happen. I also learned the power of persistance. Hard work pays!"

Thank you to the U.S Mission to South Africa for inviting us on behalf of Hema Vallabh and Naadiya Moosajee, WomEng Co-Founders, to the Johannesburg and Cape Town events. Thank you for creating such an inspiring and transformative space for women in STEM. You strike a woman; you strike a mind full of strength, resilience and greatness.

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