press / Media Kit

A Movie About Ambition

Pioneers in Skirts® is an inspiring film about the obstacles that can limit a girl’s & woman’s pioneering ambition, and what we ALL can do about it.

The film is a catalyst for meaningful conversation about cultural bias, sexism, and unfair stereotypes. It provides a better understanding for the unfair perceptions and behaviors we all are guilty of, and inspires them to take positive action.

Pioneers in Skirts follows Ashley’s journey as she examines the barriers and setbacks women confront in their careers. The problem: 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? Why the burn out…so soon!? THIS is what Ashley was going through. Admittedly, she was relieved to know she wasn’t alone.

Pioneers in Skirts is an engaging socially conscious documentary that examines WHY women and girls have dashed expectations, and 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.

Real-life stories and frank commentary leave viewers seeing their role in the solution, feeling hopeful, and motivated to act.

For the Press & Media

Video clips and images can be freely reproduced. We ask that the media credit images and videos to Ashley Maria Productions. Please contact us if you would like any of the images at a higher resolution.


  • Movie description, format, languages, official poster (+the story behind the design), What’s a Pioneer?, film festival awards, theme song, crew credits


Pioneers in Skirts follows three teen girls on a co-ed robotics team facing an upcoming state-wide competition, a new mom fearful her pregnancy news will fault her pay raise negotiations, and Ashley (our director) who finds herself doubting her aspirations — even though she had been dreaming of this career her entire life. FEATURING

VIDEO – All video clips can be found on our Pioneers in Skirts Vimeo Channels.


  1. Movie trailer:
  2. “Women Have To Spend Energy In Walking a Fine Line”:  (scene from the film)
  3. “A Heartfelt Mom Daughter Conversation”: (deleted scene – request to download)
  4. Joan Darling & Norman Lear:  (behind the scenes)
  5. Kickstarter campaign video:
  6. Ashley directing child actors for the Kickstarter campaign video:  (behind the scenes)
Ashley & Lea-Ann


Pioneers in Skirts is from a daughter-mother filmmaking team dedicated to raising awareness for cultural prejudices, empowering others to know that they aren’t alone, encouraging productive and meaningful discussions, and generating action. BIOS

Social Media

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Instagram –


Ashley Maria:  Instagram | LinkedIn

Lea-Ann W. Berst: Instagram | LinkedIn

Major Themes In The Film

IT’S NOT YOU, YOU DON’T NEED TO FIX YOURSELF: Empowering the many women & girls who often face unfair career-limiting obstacles and setbacks to know that they aren’t alone.

CULTURAL PREJUDICES CAN CHIP AWAY AT YOU: Raising awareness about prejudgment and stereotyping in the culture we live, work, and learn in.

IT GETS BETTER, YOU HAVE ALLIES & THERE ARE SOLUTIONS: To help them get past unfair obstacles, everyone…co-workers and classmates need to stand with the women and girls in their lives.

Images / Marketing Materials For The Press & Screening Hosts