Work in Progress

Olivia Smith, Claudia Shin, Lenny Vargas | United States | 2023 | 12:16



Work in Progress Synopsis

Four women in positions of power discuss the hardships and triumphs of working in politics, academia, business, and entrepreneurship.

After being shunned from the workforce for years, women were finally allowed greater access during World War II. However, as quickly as they entered the workforce, they were soon pushed back out when men came back from the war. In the dawn of the 21st Century, women are found throughout every industry but rarely in higher-level positions. Now, there is not just a push to have more women in the workforce; there is a push for women to take powerful positions.

The best way to inspire the next generation to rise to the occasion is to show them the pioneers leading the way to a more inclusive future.


About the Filmmakers

Claudia Shin is a senior at Granada Hills Charter High School. She has always had an interest in the arts and music, starting her first instrument at the age of 7 and later going on to perform at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, record two times at Warner Brothers studios on the Eastwood soundstage, and perform alongside the Tribe Band. Claudia is also interested in exploring the intersections of film and music. In early 2023, she created music and a music video for LA Council District 12’s Making Movies That Matter Film Festival. Claudia is a participant in the Girls’ Voices Now program and is also passionate about bettering her community through leadership and journalism. She has published dozens of articles for the Korea Daily, Dear Asian Youth, and her school’s International Baccalaureate Newsletter for which she is the current Editor-in-Chief. As member of the California National Guard Teen Council and the representative of Region 9 for the National Guard Teen Panel, she is also an advocate for her community of military-connected youth.


Olivia Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is currently a 17-year-old senior at Girls Academic Leadership Academy. She plans on completing the upcoming school year with a 4.6 GPA as ASB treasurer, Black Student Union Event Coordinator, and Film Club Vice President. In the fall of 2024, Olivia plans on attending a four-year university to double major in film and media studies and screenwriting. After that, Olivia plans on pursuing a career as a screenwriter and eventual producer. Olivia didn’t always have a passion for film; rather, the art of writing intrigued her the most. However, as she continued to explore career options for those interested In writing, she began to realize the beauty of film and its storytelling power. To pursue her interest further, Olivia has participated in numerous film-related activities, such as conducting interviews with USC screenwriters for her work with NewFilmmakers LA. However, Olivia only truly realized her passion for filmmaking when she acted in her first role and PAed in the short poetry film For Uvalde. Olivia has continued to pursue her passion for storytelling through film by starring and directing the short film, Through The Looking Glass, in late December of 2022 with GetLit and co-directing her first documentary in the summer of 2023 with Girls’ Voices Now.


Lenny Vargas is a rising junior attending New Village Girls Academy. Having taken internships within her school with The National Health Foundation and HK Say No To Plastics, she’s been able to take activism roles within her community as well as outside of it. However, Lenny wants to take her knowledge and share it with the world. Having joined NFMLA and Girls’ Voices Now, she hopes to bring awareness and change regarding social issues. Embarking on her journey of self-discovery she turns to philosophy and is open minded with the hopes of including it with her professional roles.


Film Screening Guide


  • When did you realize that as a woman or woman of color, you would have to work harder than any man for the same treatment, pay, or opportunities? 
  • Have you ever seen or heard of someone overlooked for a high job position because of their gender? How did this make you feel? 
  • Do you think gender representation is essential? If so, why? 
  • What is a memorable moment where your gender alone has disadvantaged you? How did this impact you?



  • How do you think companies and industries should address gender inequalities in the workforce?
  • What actions can you take to help increase the number of women in high-level positions?
  • What moments can you think of that demonstrate change to a more inclusive workforce?
  • Can you relate to or know anyone who can relate to some of the experiences described in this film? Which ones?





  • For those identifying as female, join programs to help you develop communication, leadership, and other professional skills, so you can be ready to enter the workforce. Support these organizations by donating, participating in events, and spreading their messages. Some programs are listed below:
    • Center for Intersectional Media and Entertainment
    • Representation Project
    • Women Voices Now
  • Push for more women in political positions of power
  • Advocate for women you see or know are being pushed aside for promotion because of their gender.
  • Be aware of the struggle, and stand with those in need.








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