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“Hidden Figures”

The award-winning and Academy Award-nominated movie Hidden Figures was released in 2018. It tells the true story of extraordinary female scientists of African-American descent who played a major role in NASA's space conquest programme. The United States in the 1960s, , is a period of segregation. Women are mainly secretaries and wives. In this climate, black women are given even less consideration and are victims of both sexism and racism. This wonderful movie will show young people this part of history involving women in science. Proving that women are needed in STEM and already have accomplished much.


What is it about ?

Hidden Figures is a movie telling the story of three incredible African-American female mathematicians. These women were used as “human computers” at NASA when the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space. The movie is based on a true story from the 20s to the 60s in the USA. This story demonstrates that STEM gender-stereotypes already existed back then: these women had PHDs but carried out under-skilled jobs. They show us self-confidence and pride. The fact that these women are Afro-American can inspire women and people of colour in pursuing their dreams. The girls will discover role models to identify themselves with. It might be easier for them to make the decision to study maths and computer science.

How to use it ?

This movie can be assigned to students as a homework and learning activities based on the project can be conducted during the class or it can be shown in the class to pen an immediate debate. The discussion can start with: How many women in the computer science field do you know? In terms of astronomy achievement, how many women have been known/recognised for discoveries in this field? This is the point when another recent women scientist Katie Bouman, from MIT who developed a kay algorithm to capture the image of black hole can be introduced as a role model. The movie as well as the articles can be shown as an example of successful women in STEM fields. As homework, students can prepare a short description or presentation of 1 women scientist and her achievement and prepare a class booklet.

Resource Language


Teaching Activity

Awareness & Counselling




Teaching Level

Secondary School

Discrimination Ground

race / ethnic origins