A movie about ambition
Many women battle a bias that is eroding their ambition. There are mountains of research (study after study…after study) that reveal women start out their careers with more ambition than men, but as soon as 2 years out of college women’s confidence and ambition plummets by over 60%.
These declines came independent of marriage or motherhood status. And, this phenomenon affects women across professions.
Why the dashed expectations?
Pioneers in Skirts is an entertaining social conscious documentary that addresses the stereotyping and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.
As ambitious women are forced to maneuver a work-world built for company men, Ashley wastes no time planning her escape while clearing a path for the women coming up fast behind her.
Crew biographies: click here for link
The people we feature in the film : click here for link
Running time: 60 minutes
We’re currently accepting screening requests from communities, schools, non-profits, and companies/associations/conferences. Click here to find out how you can screen the film!
Pioneers in Skirts is an engaging examination of gender parity in the workplace from the perspective of a female filmmaker who was frustrated with her own problems in the film industry.
Not finding many answers within her profession, she decides to expand her search to include other industries and society in general.
In an inspiring portrait of perseverance and determination, director Ashley Maria not only shares her own story, but she follows the journey of 3 robotic girls and their fathers as well as a young mother – all while traveling the U.S. to investigate solutions. She spoke to fellow pioneering women and interviewed topic experts.
By the end of her quest, Ashley finds out how we ALL can address the stereotyping and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.
What does a filmmaker do if she wants to overcome an issue she’s having in her life? Well, she makes a movie about it.
Soon after I started my directing career in Los Angeles, I knew I needed to make an honest film that investigated the shocking experiences I was having. I wasn’t prepared for what was happening and quickly realized this was a very big issue for women everywhere – not just in the film industry. It was much bigger than me.
The issue? The sexism and stereotyping that can prevent women from reaching their full potential.
Pioneers in Skirts grew into an overarching search for strategies to advance gender parity. My hope is for the film to be utilized to help create a world where ambitious women & girls can pursue their careers without having to combat bias in their lives — and where companies will achieve diverse and inclusive work cultures.
After 4 years of following pioneering women and gathering the facts, I am excited for the impact this film will have – not just for women or the film industry – but for cultures wanting to play a role in dramatically changing the outcome for women today and the next generation.
I’m proud to share that, after targeted test screening results from around the country, Pioneers in Skirts has proven to motivate viewers to re-evaluate the world around them and their place in it. Viewers share that they now empathize with women and what they are confronted with on a daily basis, and they leave the film wanting to take steps toward change. They want to make a difference.
We ALL can play a role in pioneering change!
~ Ashley Maria
|Nevada Women’s Film Festival||Las Vegas, Nevada||March 19-22, 2020||Nevada Premiere|
|London International Filmmaker Festival||London, England||February 8-15, 2020||Nominated for Best Director, Best Feature Documentary, and Education Award|
|Worldwide Women’s Film Festival||Scottsdale, Arizona||February 7-9, 2020||Arizona Premiere|
|USC Ray Stark Family Theatre||Los Angeles, California||January 30, 2020||USC Premiere|
|Big Syn International Film Festival||London, England||December 26-30, 2019||Selected UN Sustainable Development Goal Film|
|DTLA Film Festival||Los Angeles, California||October 23-27, 2019||Best New Director, Los Angeles Premiere|
|Black Bear Film Festival||Milford, Pennsylvania||October 18-20, 2019||Milford Premiere|
|Mystic Film Festival||Mystic, Connecticut||October 2-6, 2019||Mystic Premiere|
|Catalina Film Festival||Catalina Island, California||September 1-30, 2019||Spotlight Debut|
|FLIXX Fest Film Festival||Ft. Jones, California||September 19-22, 2019||Curator’s Choice Award, Fort Jones Premiere|
|Women Deliver Film Festival||Vancouver, Canada||June 3-6, 2019||Preview Screening|
The Latest News & Reviews for Pioneers in Skirts can be found by clicking here!
We made this film for:
- Communities pursuing gender equality movements of their own
- Companies looking to better their inclusive culture
- Schools who want their students to be aware of what’s ahead for them.
We especially made this film for the many young women who need to know: You Are Not Alone.
She is typically a woman who –
- feels she has done all the “right things” in college to position herself for success as she enters 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, and/or
- is a few years into her career; feeling like a wall has come up in front of her…and she feels it is all her fault and is wondering how she can “fix” herself.
We made Pioneers in Skirts with parents & mentors in mind too! They typically –
- want to help girls carve a successful career path,
- have already seen the girls in their lives begin to doubt their capabilities,
- want the girls and boys in circle of influence to know what’s happening around the, and/or
- have agonized as to why the girls in their lives are dropping out of a career path that seemed to once energize them.
Since achieving a diverse & inclusive culture takes an investment we ALL must make, we test-screened the film to make sure our targeted audience would leave the screening feeling like they can commit to a culture of support, solidarity, and holding people accountable.
We’ve come to appreciate that our screenings are an excellent training and discussion opportunity for organizations trying to provide positive outlets for their employees, members, and youth!
Our story reaches across aisles and makes the point that we all are to blame for the issues we’re seeing. With some of today’s “gender equity” rhetoric coming in the form of an attack on men, we made sure our story did not do that, and instead, stresses the need for men to be part of the solution.
“The evidence shows that when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of organizations see progress — compared to only 30% of organizations where men are not engaged.” ~Harvard Business Review
We’re all in this together.
Our Heartfelt Thanks to Those Who Welcomed Our Camera’s on Location
3 Black Dot • IEEE • Norman Lear • Bresee Community Center
The Foundry Group
Focus Brands • Kat Cole
Charlotte Engineering Early College • Elinvar • Central Piedmont Community College • IMAGINON: The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg • Lenovo • Lily • NC First Robotics • Cara & Jake Yara • Lia & Jerry Schwinghammer • Netsertive • SAS • Lea-Ann W. & David J. Berst • The Charlotte Ballet Academy • Girl Scouts of NC • White Plains United Methodist Church • Rommel Harley Davidson • UNC Chapel Hill • Marbles IMAX • Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) Race Track
MG Heidi V. Brown • Offutt Air Force Base
BMW Car Club of America • Virginia International Raceway
MOZ • Sarah Bird & Eric McMillan
The American Association of University Women (AAUW)
LaBelle Theatre • Thanks Plain and Simple!
Pioneers in Skirts
PO Box 57374
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Ashley Maria, Director
Lea-Ann W. Berst, Producer
PioneersinSkirts [@] gmail.com
What People Are Saying
It is inspiring to me that you’ve tackled such a pervasive and difficult issue head-on using film. Watching it makes me want to do better. I feel like your film could add fuel to a fire that needs to burn to right so many wrongs. Incredibly powerful.
The film is amazing at really driving home key points and helping us see the world in a new way. They do not point the finger and say “I cannot succeed because of this man” they say “there is an issue in society and i am going to be apart of the solution so we can all succeed.” I really loved it.
This movie is a refreshing, necessary reminder about the problems that exist in our society with respect to women and how they’re (mis)treated relative to men and my wife and I are both very glad to know that this is a project making its way towards mass distribution!
Pioneers in Skirts is eye opening! Relevant…at times raw. Definitely important to see.
There’s a sense of realness and authenticity that’s different than a lot of films. This film just feels relatable.
It’s such an important film, especially today. Everybody can see their role in the problem.
When they watch the film, I can see that women who are struggling will feel like they are not alone. I just love that.
This was an eye opening look at how women are treated in society and the changes that need to be addressed.
If an organization is open to the idea of change, this film can offer opportunity to begin new conversations around the issues.
I really like that men are shown as a part of the solution!
Images and Videos
Designed for our friends in the media, these images and video clips can be freely reproduced when credited to “Pioneers in Skirts® / Ashley Maria Productions, LLC.”
IMAGES – Here you’ll find a sampling of images relating to the movie. Please contact us if you need a higher resolution version or a specific kind of image that is not shown.