When I read that high-tech companies in Silicon Valley employ vastly fewer women than men, I felt angry and disappointed, but not surprised. It takes a certain amount of fatalism to survive in a world where inequality is the norm.
My fatalism changed to enthusiasm as the result of a conversation I had with David Perez, the Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. He had the brilliant idea that we make a summer camp for teen-aged girls and teach them to make films using their own poems. Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Working with Jennifer Swanton Brown, the Poet Laureate of Cupertino (yes, home of Apple Computers) we crafted a plan to do just that: create a place for teen girls where they can write and play with computers and cameras. We called it Media Poetry Studio. We imagined our students roaming around with notebooks and cameras, writing about and filming the world as they see it.
The world shows us girls and women through the “male gaze,” but rarely do we get to see how girls and women see themselves. Our goal is to have our students write their own poetry and make their own films, which they can share with family and friends.
Dreams are a lot of hard work, but we’re almost there. We’ve applied for funding, and I’m thrilled that Macy’s California has already given us a generous grant. We’re partnered with California Poets in the Schools and Poetry Center San Jose, two well-respected arts non-profits in the Bay Area.
Thank you for helping us empower teen girls with art and technology!