‘Hidden Figures’ Inspires Historic Education Exchange Program for Women

The State Department looks to the movie for inspiration as it brings 50 women working in STEM fields in Africa and Latin America to the United States.

Hidden Figures, the 2016 movie about the black female mathematicians who made NASA’s space program possible, was an unexpected breakout hit last year for Fox. But even more unexpected was how it was received by nations around the world.

The movie was so popular, that it inspired a groundbreaking publicly funded exchange program, #HiddenNoMore, that is bringing 50 women who work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from 50 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America to the United States.

Shortly after Hidden Figures was released, the U.S. State Department was deluged with requests for the movie at embassies around the world. In April and May alone, the film was requested in an unprecedented 80 overseas locations.

It’s incredible popularity caught the eye of Stacy White, office director of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. “We really wanted to build on the momentum,” White told The Hollywood Reporter. So the #HiddenNoMore program was launched.

Participants will fly to Washington D.C. in October where they will attend a special screening of the film at National Geographic. Then, the women will break into groups and spend three weeks meeting with organizations that promote STEM programs for women and girls, including universities and the Girls Scouts.

The  program will conclude in L.A, where Fox will hot a two-day event on the studio lot. “Our goal is to get people from diverse communities talking about these issues,” White told THR., “that are vital to long-term U.S. security and prosperity.”