Due to the strains of the current amount of my workload, I was at a loss of what this week’s blog post would consist of. However, I have decided that instead of it providing a full discussion, it will instead offer some ‘food for thought’.
This weekend I saw the Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures, which tells the true story of African American, female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race in the late 1960s. The film offered an uplifting portrayal of a group’s determination to contribute to an industry despite being faced with the struggles of sexism and racism. Intersectionality is a growing topic of conversation in social dialogues at present, and what is witnessed within the film is the beginnings of a movement towards a more accepting and productive society.
We have advanced far beyond what may have seemed possible decades ago, socially and technically. But after watching the film, I began to reflect on how some workforces and environments are still not where they could be. A montage repeated several times throughout the film was Taraji P. Henson’s character, Katherine Johnson, tottering with pace to the ‘colored toilets’. Having been assigned to a new building, she had to walk half a mile back to her original building, in order to relieve herself in the ‘correct’ bathroom. And by no means am I suggesting that I have ever been in such a persecuted situation, however I can think of times in my own experience when I have visited workshops where they don’t have a unisex, or female toilet. Of course, in the end, there was always the option of using the disabled bathroom, but I thought to myself, how could this be interpreted? Possibly, women aren’t welcome or supported here?
But, I suppose the real message I took from the story is that in order for industries and societies to advance, there needs to be an accepting and inclusive environment for all to contribute.
Another point I thought to mention though, was the irony that throughout this poignant film, the thing that repeatedly caught my attention, was Hans Wegner’s The Chair, which was the focus of several of the film’s scenes. Furniture! There’s just no escaping it.