Hidden Figures: A Revolutionary Story

Hidden Figures is a movie that mainly focuses on three mathematicians who work for NASA by the names of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Katherine Johnson is a single mom who went on to calculate flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. Dorothy Vaughan goes on to become an engineer at NASA and Mary Jackson went on to become a permanent supervisor to the Programming Department at NASA. 

            To begin, women had just started entering the workforce in the 1960s due to World War 2. As it is known, certain jobs still discriminate and do not offer positions based on appearances. Hence, these women even obtaining such highly valuable positions during those times is an applaudable matter. Not only were they questioned because they were women, but their skin color was an additional factor. For example, at the very beginning of the movie, when the trio’s car broke down, a white officer came and questioned them. However, he was taken back once they told him where they worked. His response was basically that he did not expect NASA to hire people like “them”. 

            Moreover, Mary Jackson had a mathematics and physical science degree to become an engineer, however, she was told that she would never become a NASA engineer due to the fact that she was missing a few certification courses. The courses were only offered at an all-white High School and obviously she could not attend due to her skin color. Thus, she decides to file a petition to the court in order to receive permission to attend these classes and she goes to become the first African American NASA engineer.

            To continue, Dorothy is the manager and de-facto supervisor of a group of thirty black women, however, she does not have to get a formal promotion as a supervisor. She gets kicked out of a public library because she was found in a whites-only section. She ends up stealing a book and teaches herself about programming and starts training her co-workers as well. NASA learns about her new skill and promotes her to supervise the Programming Department. 

            Following, despite the important valuable positions these women had in their respective workplaces, they were segregated from the rest of their co-workers. Their unit was segregated by race and sex. For example, Katherine had to walk half-mile to use the colored people’s bathroom. Also, she was not allowed to attend meetings because of her gender. However, Harrison destroys the bathroom sign and allows her to attend the meetings. Furthermore, she is given a security pass during the day of the launch because she figured out the calculations for the capsule’s landing coordinates. Thus, she is the reason behind the successful launch.  

            To conclude, Katherine Johnson is the perfect example of a woman that is able to be successful at her workplace despite being a single mom. She never compromised her work for her kids or vice versa. She was able to manage both gracefully and excelled in both parts of her life. She set an example for her kids as a hardworking ambitious woman who did not need a man to provide for her. This can be relatable to many women in our society nowadays who may struggle with the dilemma of balancing work and family.  

Final Project: Mary Kom

 Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is a woman born on March 1st, 1983 and is currently 37 years old. Born in a poor family with no goal in sight except working in the fields her parents owned, she was blessed with the opportunity to go to school as it is an opportunity given to not many in India. Developing for sports and viewing the success of many athletes pushed her into starting boxing.

         A movie was created in the honor of Mary Kom by the same name and featured her life in 122 minutes in the shoes of Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The film begins with a very young girl that finds a glove and becomes very interested in the sport. Her father, being an ex-boxer worries about her daughter getting hurt and hurting her face which could potentially result in a rejection for marriage. People that live in poor areas such as the Mangte family believe that women are only raised to be given in marriage one day when they grow old enough, but Mary showed her dad that he was wrong when she won the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championship.

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         After many victories in her matches, Kom falls in love with a boy and wishes to start a family with her husband. The couple decides to have children despite the constant denial of her coach who sees a lot of potential in the boxer and believes that her career would be over if she chooses to have those children and take care of them as a mother.

         Chungneijang after a few years, people begin to not recognize, and this is the push that motivates her to come back to her boxing career. She approaches her coach that abandoned her because she decided to have children and proved that a married woman could still pursue an athletic career even after giving birth. She trained long and hard to become fit and learned moves all over again. Taking care of the children became a responsibility for her husband and he gladly accepted to take them and let his wife pursue a boxing career leaving behind those that believe men are supposed to work and not take care of the children and that women should be the ones doing those tasks.

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          Going against her father’s wishes to pursue a career while being born in India is an action that takes a lot of guts to make. She was able to successfully make a career and prove that being born to be wedded one day is not the reason women are born. Furthermore, giving birth and then trusting her husband to take care of the children showed the world that marriage does not mean the end of a sports career and that women do not always have to be the ones to take care of children and food.

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