‘Chasing Grace’, which explores the experiences of women in STEM, will be shown at this year’s Inspirefest 2019.
Chasing Grace director Jennifer Cloer is one of the many recent exciting additions to the Inspirefest line-up, which will see speakers representing a broad swathe of industries gather in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to discuss key trends in science and technology.
An episode of Chasing Grace, a project examining the experiences of women in STEM, will have its European premiere at Inspirefest 2019.
Cloer’s documentary series comprises six episodes, each honing in on a different facet of the experience of women in tech. Dealing with everything from the pay gap to online harassment, the series offers an unflinching look at some of the issues these women encounter and how these problems can be addressed. Cloer will show the second episode of the series at the event in May.
For Cloer, this topic is one close to her heart. Having worked in the tech industry for 20 years herself, she has endured awkward and uncomfortable remarks from peers and found that many of her female friends in tech had the same experience.
“The time was right to advance a constructive conversation about what it means to be a woman in tech and inspire young women to join us,” Cloer explained. “While it’s not without its challenges, the industry is exciting and lucrative and we need women here. We need them contributing to the architecting of our future.”
Yet as Cloer’s documentary series incisively demonstrates, women in tech are often held to an oppressive double standard that drives many of them out of the field entirely.
Throughout her research, Cloer heard a variety of frustrating and disheartening stories from women “being explicitly targeted or dismissed when they’re trying to pursue their dreams and contribute to tech in a meaningful way”. The women Cloer encountered had experienced everything from being dismissed by VCs specifically because they’re female CEOs, to being sued by men’s rights organisations for hosting meet-ups for women.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though – Cloer notes that she has also discovered “an amazing community of women emerging in tech in companies and communities all over the world”.
Cloer hopes that the Chasing Grace project will help to illuminate these issues and their roots. However, she’s keen to also spotlight the incredible achievements women in tech are making today, inspired by the incredible women who came before them, such as Grace Hopper, after whom the series is named.
More than anything, it’s this strength Cloer is keen to emphasise. “Women in tech have a resilience and a power that for too long has gone unnoticed. See them, hear them and amplify their talents so that we can build an inclusive future through technology.”