Girl power. We at The Longest Straw talk it up a lot, and with good reason: we’re proud to be one of the few films that has a female director, an all-female producer team, a female editor, and a female star. And if we’re being real, women are woefully underrepresented in the entertainment industry. In fact, in 2015, men compromised 80% of the professionals working on high-profile movie set positions.
Another field that’s sorely lacking in ladies? STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Men outnumber women three to one in STEM fields, a particularly discouraging statistic giving how much of our world and our economy is built on STEM.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t kick-ass women working hard in these fields, though. Take, for example, Maude Barlow. Maude knows her way around water issues after founding Blue Planet Project, a group dedicated to providing clean water access to communities that lack it. Their motto, “Water is life,” even sounds a bit familiar.
Water is about more than drinking, though, and if you have doubts about that, just check in with oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Her past experience includes serving as chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), leading the first-ever all female aquanaut team, and Time Magazine dubbed her a “Hero for the Planet,” a title they invented just for her.
Of course, any even passive movie-goer has heard of Erin Brokovich. In a case that certainly sounds unnervingly familiar to current residents of Flint, Michigan, Brokovich represented the California town of Hinkley once residents learned their drinking water had been contaminated with the carcinogen hexavalent chromium. She has fought many lawsuits opposing dangerous pollution.
Brokovich may have seen her victories brought to life in a fictional portrayal, but Shailene Woodley, actress, has one foot in Hollywood and one in the environmentalist movement. She made headlines when she was arrested at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest in October, but she has a long history of environmental work, and is an avid hiker who endorses websites designed to keep your hikes healthy and natural. Sure, it may seem odd to call a professional actress a “scientist,” but we can all learn about the world around ourselves, even if it’s not our profession.
The world is full of amazing women doing amazing things, even in fields where they are underrepresented. We know there are a ton of female scientists and environmentalists we missed on this list, so share your favorites in the comments below or tweet with #WhoRulesTheWorldOfScience