After Fox 2000‘s space race drama “Hidden Figures” was released last year, an unprecedented amount of United States embassies were reportedly calling the State Department requesting the film. Eventually the movie was screened to nearly 80 locations overseas and because of all those screenings, a new, publicly funded exchange program will bring women from around the world working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to the United States.
The program, called #HiddenNoMore, will bring 50 women from 50 different countries who are working in STEM fields to the United States. The chosen participants will travel to Washington in October before traveling across the country for three weeks meeting with universities, Girl Scouts, and other organizations.
Then they’ll all come together in Los Angeles for a two-day event on the 21st Century Fox lot. Across STEM industries, women, particularly women of color, are vastly underrepresented. “Hidden Figures” already shed light on the important history of black women in mathematics, but with programs like #HiddenNoMore it’s cool that the movie can now help create its future.
Sarah Randolph Bailey, born 1885 in to freed slaves, was a longtime educator and missionary who saw the value in troubled young girls and volunteered her time to provide guidance.
After earning her teaching degree and working at a rehabilitation and detention center for girls in Macon, Georgia, Bailey had the vision to organize young women for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Girl Reserves group.
In 1935, Bailey gathered informal groups of Black girls and started giving them the opportunity to learn life skills and lessons, much like their white counterparts in the Girl Scouts. After organizing some 15 Girl Reserve troops in Georgia, Girl Scouts, U.S.A. took notice and invited Bailey to organize the first Black Girl Scouts troop in Macon. (The Girl Scouts started integrating troops in 1913 and the first African-American troop formed in 1917.) Bailey’s group was formally introduced as official Scouts in 1948.
“I shall be rewarded on Earth according to the way I’ve lived. To me, a healthy body, sound mind, and equal opportunities mean more than wealth; and happiness and success are the products of our gifts to the world and of our fairness and sincerity to ourselves and others.” — Sarah Randolph Bailey
Bailey was also named the chairwoman for the Macon Girl Scout’s Central Committee and earned the “Thanks” badge, the Scouts’ highest honor given to an adult. In 1961, a permanent campsite was named in her honor. She also worked as a district and council leader before passing in 1972. In 1994, The Macon Girl Scouts Center was renamed the Sarah Bailey Service Center. She was also the subject of a dedicated exhibit at Macon’s Tubman Museumin 2014.
A video about Bailey’s life and service to helping shape and empower young women can be seen here.
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has joined forces with Sigma Gamma Rho, one of the nation’s largest African American sororities, to help build awareness of career possibilities in science, technology, and engineering among girls and parents in the African American community.