Girls in the Lab!
I just discovered the new Netflix show "Emily's Wonder Lab." I am so excited, as this is an answer to an unspoken prayer.
Let me explain. Since we've been in quarantine (and we are still in quarantine in my house), I have learned so much about my little four-year-old daughter. This is so interesting, since she lived in my body and then I gave birth to her, I didn't think we needed to get more acquainted. We did.
I learned that she loves science. Like, LOVES it. Loves it so much that when we conduct experiments, she tries the concepts on a variety of materials, in her words, "To understand it differently." I am not doing that thing where parents maturely edit the kid's words to make them sound smart. She actually said that.
During the summer, we were home-summer-schooling, and I was her science teacher. We learned about density, salinity, capillary action and more. She was so excited, she asked if we could do science first thing in the morning every day. Then she FaceTimed family members and demonstrated the concepts to them.
Like I said, the girl loves science.
So I'm on the internet looking for science shows and science books and noticing something. It's a (little) boys' club. The books, videos and shows mostly feature male teachers and boys performing the experiments.
Y'all. Girls like science. And pregnant women are like literal walking labor-a-tories, incubating life.
So, imagine my excitement, when a scroll on Instagram took me to Emily Calandrelli, a real-life science expert who has a Netflix series now.
Apparently, it's a been an uphill battle, until they got to Netflix, a company that has taken an intentional and swift approach to diversity and inclusive programming.
In an interview with Techcrunch.com, Emily shared that, “In previous pitch meetings with large science networks, I’ve often gotten the feedback that the people who watch science shows are predominantly male.”
She went on to say, “So in these pitch meetings, the feedback I often get is, unfortunately, ‘Our audience is primarily male, and so they won’t be able to relate to a female host’ — that’s the reason that I’m given for why they don’t want my show. So to have a platform like Netflix be excited to have a female host a science show on their network really feels like a win.”
Any industry that lacks diversity lacks the potential to evolve. When asked about her education, Emily said, "I have two degrees in undergrad, one Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering, one and aerospace engineering from West Virginia University. And then I went to MIT for a master's in aeronautics and astronautics engineering and then a second Master's in something called technology and policy."
Today, she works as a science communicator, which means that she communicates very complicated and complex science concepts to a general audience. Her goal, in her words, is, "Just to find creative ways to get kids and students excited about science."
So she has AAAAAAALLLLL that training, and the emotional intelligence to be able to break it down to plain language and transfer the knowledge to people with no prior experiences. Let's just stop and marvel at how much talent that requires. She filmed the entire series eight months pregnant. So, you mean to tell me she taught science with pregnancy brain?!?! The girl is brilliant.
And we would have missed it. Because she does not identify as a boy.
What are we missing in others because their superpower doesn't come in the body that we expect?
I encourage you today to question the narratives we currently hold around who is qualified for what. We may learn and find a new love along the way.
Danielle Fanfair is a teacher, writer and speaker who helps high-impact professionals go from Confusion to Clarity about who they truly are, with a passion for well-being, diversity & inclusion, self-understanding and skills-building. Work with Danielle by clicking here.