Girls are feeling empowered by the new movie Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot. In the film, Princess Diana is raised by Amazon women on a remote island and trained as a warrior.
Hollywood plays a pivotal role in the encouragement and inspiration of young girls with big-screen characters such as Wonder Woman, Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, and Tris Prior of the Divergent Series.
In real life, girls and young women need role models, too. They need to see women today who succeed in male-dominated fields such as politics, corporate leadership, and STEM professions. They need women role models who lead by example and encourage them to reach their full potential.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has a program called SWENext that allows girls under age 18 to join the group for free and connect with women engineering mentors. They also receive resources on pursuing a career in engineering. The group has grown to 5,000 members in just 2 years.
SWE also produced its first engineering comic book adventure last year and is working on a second issue now. The comic book shows that girls can be just as good at science and technology as their male counterparts.
SWE sponsors teams at FIRST robotics competitions. FIRST is an organization that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders with competitions and mentor programs.
Studies have shown that girls’ perceptions of subjects like engineering and technology change for the positive after participating in programs such as these. It's essential for girls to see women super heroes on the big screen and in real life to inspire them to be whatever they want to be in a male-dominated world.