Almost every little girl loves being a princess. Some of us big girls do, too, we’ve just replaced our tiaras and wands with hair extensions and designer handbags. But, we’re much more than just princesses. Girls can be anything they want to be, even scientists and engineers. The key is to harness that girl power and get girls building, creating and constructing.
Men Dominate Science and Engineering
Over the past decade, there’s been a significant push by many educational institutions and companies to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). But, I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that despite these efforts, men, particularly white men, still hold the majority of science and engineering jobs. It doesn’t look like the domination by men will change any time soon because the vast number of engineering graduates and students are men. So, what can be done to change things?
Disrupting the pink aisle
According to Debbie Sterling, engineer and co-founder and president of GoldieBlox, girl power starts with ‘disrupting the pink aisle’ in every toy store. Sterling, who has a degree in mechanical engineering and product design from Stanford, was frustrated with the scarcity of women in her program and set out to develop a toy for young girls that would get them interested in engineering.
After being shut out by the major retailers and toy industry, Sterling turned to Kickstarter and raised almost $300,000 to launch GoldieBlox, “a construction toy + book series starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build.” Sterling wants “to inspire girls the way Legos and Erector sets have inspired boys, for over 100 years, to develop an early interest and skill set in engineering.” She may be on to something.
According to Wikipedia, the socialization of girls is in part responsible for the low representation of women in engineering. No surprise here. Gender experts, such as Dr. Patricia Heim and the Heim Group, have for many years attempted to narrow the gender gap by helping us understand how gender socialization and the differences in the way girls and boys play impacts behavior and work.
While our focus at Ask Ajna is not to promote products and services of other companies, we are focused on supporting and empowering women and girls. I believe GoldieBox has huge potential to influence young girls and to change the game, not only in engineering, but also in the toy industry.
You may be wondering what the Superbowl has to do with GoldieBox and women engineers – a lot! GoldieBox has been selected as one of four finalists to win a 30 second commercial spot during the Superbowl. If you’re like me, you’re sick of all the highly sexualized and female degrading Superbowl ads (sorry GoDaddy!). So, let’s show the boys what girl power can do! Join me in supporting GoldieBox and women in engineering by voting to bring GoldieBlox to the Superbowl.
You can vote here: http://bit.ly/Vote4Goldie
It was through The Power of Self (POS) , an incredible leadership program and a powerful network of strong women, that I became aware of GoldieBlox. Here, in part, is the message I received through POS:
Not only would this be an enormous game-changer for our company, but it is an opportunity to get our mission in front of over 100 million viewers around the world. We have the chance to spark an interest in engineering and technology to girls everywhere. To let them know they are more than just princesses! To truly disrupt the pink aisle! I get goosebumps at just the thought of the impact this ad could make on our culture, the conversations it could start at the dinner table, and all the girls it could inspire. Please help us in achieving this dream. Here’s how:
1. Vote now (every vote, every day counts)
2. Forward this to family, friends and colleagues (extra bonus points for company and community list-servs)
3. Post the link on Facebook, Twitter and/or your social media of choice (a graphic is attached for easy posting) This is our chance to make history. Thank you for being a part of it. Let’s win this thing!
I appreciate the opportunity to support Debbie Sterling and the legacy she’s building for many future generations of female engineers. What legacy are you building? Share with is on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, using #LeaveYourLegacy
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