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Why College Women Should Support the Pioneers in Skirts Kickstarter

Pioneers in Skirts™ is a groundbreaking documentary film directed by 2008 UNC-Chapel Hill alum Ashley Maria. After earning her masters from the School of Cinematic Arts at The University of Southern California, Ashley noticed that she was always being referred to as a “woman director” rather than a “director.”

“It frustrated me to no end." Ashley said. "Why was I being put into a category? After some reflection, I realized my choices were limited, and I could feel my ambition and confidence slowly chipping away. Why?”


Image of Ashley Maria & Lea-Ann on set in Raleigh, North Carolina

A recent article from leadership blog, Thin Difference, elaborated on Ashley’s experience. She felt isolated and didn’t know what to do.

“After a short time working in my profession I felt myself starting to doubt my dream – a dream that I had successfully pursued all my life,” said Ashley.

“We are all taught to follow rules in a career ‘game’ that allows us to learn, take advantage of opportunities, and make steps towards an upward trajectory in our career,” shared Ashley. “The thing is, the game is much more complicated and difficult when a woman plays it.”

Ashley soon realized it wasn’t the rules she was playing wrong, it was the entire game.


Prep before a college student interview in Boulder, Colorado

Ashley and her mother and producer, Lea-Ann Woodward Berst, have been working on Pioneers in Skirts since 2012; interviewing women and men in various industries, including the male dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). They’ve also interviewed parents and mentors of young girls who are just now deciding on career goals.

Pioneers in Skirts is a film that provides solutions to the setbacks and obstacles women face in today’s workplace, and ways to prevent these issues from happening to the next generation.

Ashley explains how “the film shows how we all can 'change the game' and end gender biases in the workplace, biases that both women and men are guilty of.”

In order to finish the film the team behind Pioneers in Skirts has launched a Kickstarter to raise $50,000 by September 19th. They need your help to finish this much-needed film.


To learn more about the film and how you can be a part of bringing it to the big screen, visit their Kickstarter Campaign and be sure to watch the trailer. Also be sure to follow @WomenPioneers on Twitter.

Pioneers in Skirts is a film that is going to change the game for college women. With only 4 days left of the Kickstarter they need your help to raise awareness and finish this revolutionary film. Please check out the kickstarter video and help spread the word and #BEaPioneer. 

My name is Lauren, I am a recent transfer student to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I previously attended George Mason University, where I was a member of PRSSA, Gamma Phi Beta International sorority, and Golden Key International Honour Society. I grew up in North Carolina, but spent a year in-between my freshman and sophomore year of college living in Bratislava, Slovakia with my family. During my time abroad I had an internship with The Slovak Atlantic Commission and was able to work in a multi-cultural work environment. I also traveled throughout Europe while I was living in Slovakia, some of my favorite places I visited are London, Cannes, Zurich, Budapest, and Krakow. My goal is to one-day work as an entertainment publicist, I attended the 66th Festival de Cannes with my Cannes Cinephiles Accreditation. While at Cannes I met many industry leaders and knew this was the career for me. I am also a student member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. I look forward to the new adventures that await me as a transfer student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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