By Charlotte Stevenson
On Thursday 28th March 2019 at 17:00, FT/002, York St. John Feminist Society will be hosting a free screening of Oscar nominated motion picture, Hidden Figures. The movie tells the story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who produced defining work which made possible numerous NASA successes during the U.S. Space Race and beyond.
With York Literature Festival commencing in March and International Women’s Day having occurred at the beginning of the month, there seems no better time than now to be discussing narratives about incredible women who are being written back into the history they were written out of. Each of the women depicted in Hidden Figures achieved incredible things. From calculating trajectories better than the latest technology to being the first female African American engineer at NASA, these women pushed against those discriminatory restrictions set in place by a predominantly white working body through hard work and a belief that as Katherine Johnson said ‘you’re no better than anybody else, but nobody is better than you’. Yet until the release of this biopic and the book on which it is based, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, their stories were largely unknown to the public.
YSJ Fem Soc has selected this picture for our screening for this very reason. As a society, we stand for the equality of all individuals regardless of their race, gender or sexuality. We promote unity and want to share a history amongst ourselves and with others that is not defined by male narratives alone but by narratives of all those individuals who throughout history have contributed to making impossible things possible. Through our discussions, through our debates and through our screenings, it is our aim for everyone to be able to access freely the stories of those who have been erased from their rightful place in history so that they do not remain hidden figures forever. This is an education we think all should be entitled to and this is what led us to make this event.
Using the message of International Women’s Day, we are beginning an ongoing campaign to celebrate specifically those women who have been left out of history classes, something we believe should be extended to a mission of every single day. Because especially in cases such as those of protagonist Katherine Johnson, those much deserved celebrations of groundbreaking hard work are long overdue.
Tickets are free and available from our Eventbrite page. We look forward to seeing you there!