The gender disparity between men and women in the STEM fields continues to be an ongoing problem in education and business.
Nationwide, activists are working to persuade universities around the world to fix the gap.
Nationwide, less than 4% of engineering degrees go to African-Americans, and the percentage is even less for women.
It’s not due to a lack of enthusiasm, according to a new study conducted by Houston’s Southern Methodist University.
“Even a limited exposure with an enthusiastic and inspirational career woman can greatly affect the attitudes of young women as well as their academic interests.” – SMU’s Danila Serra and Catherine Porte.
Enter “Black Panther.”
Not only is the movie a blockbuster hit, but the movie also has an underlying, inspiring tale of African women dominating the STEM fields.
According to Hank Boyd, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Robert H. Smith School of Business at The University of Maryland, “Black Panther” showcases an amazing portrayal of STEM roles with the female characters.
“Unlike in so many superhero films, the female characters in ‘Black Panther’ have authoritative roles,” Professor Hank Boyd.
“They counsel T’Challa after his rise to power [and] they protect him as part of the all-female army,” Professor Boyd noted.
From the professor’s point of view, T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, is a positive female STEM role model, a scientist doing vital technological work on Vibranium (the strongest substance on Earth and found only in Wakanda).
“She’s STEM all the way. With this character, once again, you have to applaud. The filmmakers, they got it right,” Professor Boyd said.
According to Professor Boyd, Ryan Coogler’s masterpiece, which also showcases strong women like Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett, will have an impact on generations of young African-American female viewers, long after the box office success.
“They have captured something that will inspire generations of young African-American women,” said Professor Boyd.
Professor Hank Boyd, an attorney, and expert in consumer behavior has consulted for the NFL, as well as for the likes of SAIC, Verizon and Progressive Insurance, which tapped him to help create its marketing campaign targeting Super Bowl 50 viewers.