Parents' Guide to

The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Doc celebrates women achieving in traditionally male fields.

Movie NR 2014 99 minutes
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This is a moving celebration of female achievement that asks the inspiring and instigating question, "What would you do if you weren't afraid to fail?" Director Sarah Moshman and producing partner Dana Michelle Cook assembled a crew of female filmmakers to look at hard questions about why despite years of feminism and attempts at fostering awareness, women still remain stranded in a cycle of stymied achievement. It assumes that years of hitting the glass ceiling has created female self censorship and caution, conditions that hold back as many women as male bias against female achievement.

This message in The Empowerment Project is offered by many of the accomplished interviewees. They observe that women labor in a cycle of self doom created in part by a lack of role models in traditionally male jobs and careers, perpetuating the sense in young girls that certain endeavors are closed to them. The film aims to dash those fears by showing a pilot, a mathematician, an architect, a congresswoman, and others in traditionally male roles who ignored naysayers and forged ahead. But it won't be easy. A black female admiral observes that for women to compete against men, they "don't have the luxury of being average." That statement questions the movie's pat subtitle as the women it presents aren't in any sense ordinary. The good news is such movies are working to raise awareness so that a female black admiral does become ordinary.

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