In the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” the world watched Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae portray three talented mathematicians who were vital to NASA’s space missions during the 1960s. And in the “Black Panther” film series, Letitia Wright plays Shuri, an innovator and scientist tasked with saving her brother and her home countless times without failure.
In more ways than one, the arts, literature, and film have reflected Black women as valuable assets in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. But organizations like Black Girls Do Engineer are making representation a reality for young women.
Only 20% of all engineering bachelor’s degree holders are women, and for women of color, the numbers are even smaller. Less than 4% of engineering bachelor’s degrees are awarded to African American, Hispanic, and Native American women combined, and “for African American women that percentage is declining,” according to the Society of Women Engineers.