As women behind-the-scenes of the comic book industry aim to make women more visible on-and-off the page, Marvel makes a move to bring women to the forefront as well. Just in time for Women's History Month Marvel has created program for female applicants interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, fields still lacking in female representation. In July Apple donated $50 million to non-profits for women and minorities in an effort to diversify the tech industry.
USA Today exclusively reports Marvel joined forces with the National Academy of Sciences' Science & Entertainment Exchange for the program. Tied to the Captain America: Civil War May 6 premiere the program is the "Girls Reforming the Future Challenge." "Young female avengers," as the website for the program states, ages 15 to 18 who are in their sophomore to senior year of high school are eligible for the program. For the "challenge" young women must enter a video that explains their project (that must use either science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) and how it will help the world.
Civil War stars Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch, and Emily VanCamp, who plays agent 13, explain in a video for the challenge that the young women—like the Avengers—must be committed to: "safeguard humanity, protect the earth at all costs and make the world a better place for future generations."
Five finalists will present their projects in California in addition to being able to attend the Civil War red carpet premiere and getting a tour of Walt Disney Studios and a $500 savings account. The grand prize winner will score a Marvel Studios internship. Information about the program can be found here.
Since Marvel's turning its attention to the gender gap how about putting its female characters on merchandise. Fans have complained about Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy's Gamora being notably absent from merchandise.