Marvel Launches Initiative To Encourage Girls In STEM To Promote ‘Ant-Man’ Movie

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Ok we know there have been lots of discussions surrounding Marvel Studios’ lack of a female-driven superhero movie, but we should not be so quick to accuse them of sexism just yet. First of all, they have already announced they will release a ‘Captain Marvel’ movie in 2018 based on the comic book of the same name starring lead character Carol Danvers who was formerly known as “Miss Marvel”.

And with the mounting pressure from ‘Avengers’ fans calling on the studio to create a ‘Black Widow’ movie since almost every other Avenger character has their own movie, we’re still holding out hope that it may happen, despite some media critics saying the dismal history of women-led superhero movies tanking at the box office (clearly those critics have not seen ‘Divergent’ or ‘The Hunger Games’ yet…) is what is stopping a Black Widow feature.

Back in 2013 for the release of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Marvel created an exciting initiative for girls proving they do have a female focus, but it may not always be in the way fans want. Given there is such a huge push to get girls interested in STEM careers from elementary school age (thanks to companies like Google and Girls Who Code recognizing the untapped potential of girls to fill the nearly 1 million unfilled STEM jobs in America) Marvel are well positioned to create an exciting campaign like this.

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Why? Because a lot of their female characters are STEM heavy and give young girls a positive role model to aspire to. Natalie Portman’s character Jane Foster was an astrophysicist. But it doesn’t end there. Betty Ross is a genetic scientist who worked with Bruce Banner in his experiments that turned him into The Hulk. Pepper Potts is the CEO of Stark Industries, a billion-dollar tech company that develops all of the Iron Man technology.

On the smaller screen, Jemma Simmons is the leading biochemical scientist on Marvel’s television show, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’. In the upcoming Marvel release ‘Ant-Man’, Evangeline Lilly plays scientist Hope Van Dyne who together with her father Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas), another scientist, created the technology that allowed them to shrink Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd).

To promote the movie, instead of going the usual route of forcing us to watch pre-roll ads on literally EVERY Youtube video and other traditional marketing tactics of the big studios in Hollywood, Marvel are calling on girls aged 14-18 to create DIY projects by using everyday materials or readily accessible technology for their ‘Micro Tech Challenge‘ which has a pay-it-forward-style STEM initiative built into it.

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“Upon completion of the contest, build instructions for the winning projects will be provided to a STEM based girls program in the winners’ home community. Each winner will have the opportunity to lead a workshop in building her project for the selected program in her community,” says the website.

“After completing their projects, applicants will be asked to submit a short video demonstrating the projects and explaining how their projects will inspire other girls to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, or math.”

Each of the winners will also get flown to Hollywood to attend the July 17 premiere of the movie, and get a tour of the Walt Disney Studios.

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The micro-tech challenge is awesome, and their portrayal of strong, intelligent female STEM role models on-screen is a good move on Marvel’s part.

“Hope Van Dyne is a capable talented scientist and a force to be reckoned with,” says Evangeline Lilly of her character in the video below.

If the girls of tomorrow’s generation have the opportunity to tap into their potential to become future scientists, innovators, inventors and problem-solvers, then perhaps creating a Black Widow wouldn’t even be a question for Marvel Studios. Now there’s a thought!

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