Published May 1, 2017

Unstoppable Wasp: G.I.R.L. Goals

Writer Jeremy Whitley helps Nadia Pym kick off her new organization!

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Nadia Pym saw some dark times in the Red Room. But she hasn’t let that make her cynical. She still believes the best about people. And that optimism has led her to form Genius In Action Research Labs (G.I.R.L.), a budding organization dedicated to fostering the scientific talent of girls and young women.

But what about this group will make it a success? We chatted with UNSTOPPABLE WASP writer Jeremy Whitley about the main goals and tenets of G.I.R.L., as Nadia brings her friends and colleagues to the forefront with June 7’s issue #6!

Demonstrating that girls and young women deserve to be counted among Earth’s smartest people

This is the original organizing principal of G.I.R.L. In Marvel lore, the question of the smartest people in the world has always been [one] that pops up and that people try to put some numbers on. With the recent induction of Lunella Lafayette as the official top of that list, it brought into stark contrast how much of the rest of that list, especially the top, is male.

It’s been shown in studies that when taking blind applications to advanced science and engineering programs, that men and women tend to fare more or less the same. However, when the applications have a name and a face attached to them, men tend to do much better. After a lot of research and discussion, the reason for this seemed to be that professors or scientists looking to fill these programs were looking for people that they saw themselves in. They tended to favor people in which they could recognize the same things that they thought made themselves good scientists. So, without realizing it, they favored male candidates. It’s what’s called an inherent bias.

The purpose of G.I.R.L. is to even out the playing field by finding those overlooked girls that don’t get seen by the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists making up this list. People who think differently, look different, or express their ideas differently are often left behind when you’re calculating something like who is the smartest. Nadia wants to pick those girls up and show what they’re capable of.

Bringing together the brightest minds with the goal of scientific innovation

Innovation is a huge thing for Nadia in the same way it was for [her father] Hank [Pym]. You can literally know everything in the world and not have any original ideas. If the world is going to change and get better, then we need not just brains, but innovation. Hank was the sort of scientist who created square bubbles. He didn’t do it because the world needed square bubbles to survive, but because it was a puzzle he wanted to solve. Nadia shares that scientific curiosity.

The girls of G.I.R.L. are not just big brains, but girls with original ideas who have been working on things they are passionate about in their own time. They’re not really looking to win awards, they’re looking to create. G.I.R.L. really sets its sights on exploring the art of science.

Creating a space for young women to support one another

It’s important to create spaces in which girls [can] support one another and don’t need to feel like they need affirmation from either boys or adults. The G.I.R.L. lab is a space where no matter how crazy your idea is, there’s not shame in bringing it in. That’s how really important breakthroughs get made, by trying things that nobody has thought of yet. And when we create a space where girls can be that resource for other girls, that’s where real “girl power” comes from, right? When girls are able to bring ideas to the table without doubting themselves or worrying about looking stupid, then we’ll be able to focus on the important things.

Unstoppable Wasp #6 cover by Elsa Charretier

Diversity of experience creates diversity of ideas

Often when people talk about “diversity” they use it as a buzz word, like it’s a pointless practice of checking off boxes. The reality in any creative setting is that by diversifying your team, you bring in different perspectives. When you have different perspectives you get different ideas. This is important both for the backgrounds of the characters that make G.I.R.L. up and also from variety of scientific fields the girls come from. When you tackle a big problem, an engineer is going to come at it differently than a chemist and a chemist will come at it differently than a physicist. The same is true when you’re comparing someone who has been scraping by in life and somebody who has had all of the resources they needed. It’s also true of somebody who grew up with protective immigrant parents from another country and somebody who grew up with a disability that pushed them to find new ways to take care of things themselves.

Using science for the greater good

It’s not just about saving the world when it needs to fight off an alien invasion. It’s not about personal gain. It’s about making life better. In the same way the Champions are helping with issues that don’t register for the Avengers, G.I.R.L. is there for science issues that don’t register to Iron Man or Hank McCoy.

For Nadia personally, we see an element of wanting to carry on Hank’s legacy

Nadia was made into what she is by the Red Room in an effort to corrupt Hank’s legacy. They wanted to make Nadia destroy in the same way Hank had innovated and built. G.I.R.L. is important because it’s Nadia taking that legacy back and embracing it. Her father isn’t around right now, but if he were, she would want him to be proud. She wants to make Janet and Mockingbird proud as well. The Pyms have a mixed legacy, but it’s one worth fighting for.

Jeremy Whitley and artist Elsa Charretier help G.I.R.L. grow in UNSTOPPABLE WASP #6 on June 7!