For all Pioneers in Skirts® media inquiries, to request specific information, or to schedule an interview, please contact us via PioneersinSkirts [@] #BEtheChange  #BEaPioneer

Content for your story

Are you writing an article or producing a piece about the gender-bias and sexism that can hold a woman back in her career? Interview Director, Ashley Maria and/or Producer, Lea-Ann W. Berst.


As ambitious women are forced to maneuver a work-world built for company men, Ashley wastes no time planning her escape and clearing a path for the girls coming up fast behind her.

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Ashley grew up in a world where girls are taught to be powerful. They’re told, “If you dream it, you can be it,” and are encouraged to spend their independent teen years working towards those dreams.

But, what happens when these dreamers grow up?

Now 27, Ashley always knew she needed to pioneer her own path, making sure to have a strong work-ethic and an internal motivation to succeed. But, only a few years out of school, she felt held back and powerless.

Little did she realize, she had been battling a bias that was eroding her ambition. Mountains of research reveal that women begin to back off from their career aspirations as soon as 2 years out of college and it continues to plummet over time. This phenomenon is affecting women across professions and has experts guessing as to what to do.

Ashley spoke to her friends to see if they were having the same experience, and they were. They, too, felt unprepared for what lies ahead.

Determined to find a fix, this DGA-award winning director grabbed her camera and set out on a nationwide journey to reveal the career obstacles women face, what realistically can be done about them, and how we all can play a role in dramatically changing the outcome for the next generation.

Stories weave in and out of Ashley’s personal journey, unfolding to expose what it is that is chipping away at a woman’s ambition and making her re-think her dreams.

Starting with one question, “WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR WOMEN TO ACHIEVE PARITY IN THE WORKPLACE?” Ashley brings in the experiences of other ambitious women like her and asks experts for strategies we ALL can implement today.

–Who is in the film?–


Pioneers in Skirts is aimed at the woman who –

  • feels she has done all the “right things” in college to position herself for success as she entered her first job,
  • has high ambitions for her career and the life in front of her,
  • is aware that she should own her own success but can’t understand (or get past) cultural and systemic challenges that hold her back,
  • is feeling like a wall has come up in front of her…and she feels it is all her fault
  • feels she is to blame and is wondering how she can “fix” herself.

Pioneers in Skirts has a secondary audience of parents & mentors who –

  • want to help girls carve a successful career path,
  • have already seen the girls in their lives begin to doubt their capabilities, and
  • have agonized as to why the girls in their lives are dropping out of a career path that seemed to once energize them.


Pioneers in Skirts is currently in post-production and targeted to premiere in the coming months!

–Meet the Team–


We’re planning to have a worldwide premiere at a festival that seeks to foster equality, inclusion and diversity.

As the film hits the festival circuit, we will work to get as many eyes on the film by securing broadcast distribution for shared home streaming and educational distribution to get the film into educational institutions.

Outreach: our long-term goal is to publicly screen Pioneers in Skirts in educational and community venues, and to privately screen the film in corporate/business settings.  We want these screenings to have an engaging, festival-type atmosphere; providing custom experiences that activate experiential opportunities where the audience learns to identify and confront sexism and bias in the culture around them.

We also want the audience to be able to feel like they at a festival – weaving in the energy of people around them and having the opportunity to meet the filmmakers and speak to characters we feature in the film.

Our end game is to help young professionals be better prepared for what’s ahead, and engage diverse audiences in fruitful dialogue that challenges biased cultural beliefs. It is our desire to have the screening of Pioneers in Skirts be part of a safe space where issues that have the potential for polarizing communities are discussed in a meaningful fashion; addressing the problems without accusation or creating division.


Designed for our friends in the media, these images and video clips can be freely reproduced when credited to “Pioneers in Skirts® / Ashley Maria.”

VIDEO – Clips can be found on our Vimeo channel. We’ve organized the video clips into 4 buckets: Career Advice, General Purpose, The People in the Film, and Production Update Videos.

IMAGES – Here you’ll find a sampling of images relating to the movie. Please contact us if you need a specific image that is not shown.

Producers Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria

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We followed Lily’s life and career from pregnancy to when Carter was 2.

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We followed Maddy, Sophia and Iman from ages 13-16 to capture their ambition story.

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Millennial interviewees striking a Rosie pose!

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Ashley Maria

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Ashley Maria learning about the importance of having a work-life-blend from global executive, Nicole Jefferies.

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Ashley Maria on set; directing the Norman Lear and Joan Darling interview.

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Producers Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria

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Producers At White House Summit

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Daughter-Mother Producers

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