STEM – Why aren’t more women involved?
I’m not traditionally someone who’s in love with STEM subjects, but I do think they are important, interesting, and necessary to the advancement of us as a whole. I think it even more important that women are involved in them. As someone who’s passionate about the arts and sociology, I believe that the combining of STEM and the arts can only result in something brilliant. STEM is creating, building, and making new and incredible things. The arts are no different; both are creative and advance our society. Being an intern for ProSTEM, I’m continuously learning about STEM issues and education in STEM fields. During my research I discovered GoldieBlox.
GoldieBlox, created by Debbie Sterling, is the new toy out on the market that targets young girls to build and construct from a young age so they have improved spatial skills when they’re older. Debbie from all her time in college pursuing her engineering major, noticed that her class consisted of a majority of male peers. There was only a handful of women that were also in her class, and Debbie always felt out of place. She noticed that compared to the other guys in her class she had comparatively less spatial skills than them. She noticed that it came easier to them than it did to her, and this was because from a young age boys have played with construction/building toys (such as LEGOS, K’NEX, and etc). Fresh out of college, Debbie decides she wants to make a toy that little girls can play with, that will not only get them interested in engineering but will also give them a chance to play with something other than a barbie or a makeup-kit. She made her prototype and began a kickstarter for it so she could mass produce her invention. She hit her mark and her toy for girls hit the market. In 6 months her product was distributed nationally and it was a hit. Now GoldieBlox not only produces toy sets but also has an app and characters that are unique to it.
These characters are diverse and amazing. GoldieBlox also highlights the issue of how young girls don’t get to see enough female heroes in movies and tv shows. Their product combines storytelling and building sets, so they’ve created Goldie Blox, Ruby Rails, and more. These characters are strong female engineers who build machines and can code like no one else. Being a female person of color, it’s disheartening to see that the majority of leads in movies are male white men. Not only is GoldieBlox tackling the issue of not having enough female engineers in our society but they’re also tackling the issue of representation. Its very important that young girls have confidence in who they are and what they can do, they have infinite potential and it can be limited by so many influences, stereotypes, and gender roles that we have created and assigned as a society. GoldieBlox is trying to break all those barriers and see a new age of young confident girls who have full faith in their abilities and their intelligence.
Thinking back to when I was a little girl, I remember always seeing LEGOS as a toy for boys and not getting it. Now that I’m a teenager I highly regret that because I play with LEGOS whenever I can find them. To think that this toy will make so many little girls interested in something that they thought they couldn’t do or wasn’t meant for them is very exciting. Because of this product the future can be changed, the statistic that there are only 14% of female engineers out there right now can completely be changed.
Not only does this product keep young girls interested in STEM for longer, but it also inspires a new generation to change the male-female ration in those fields. Girls can be just as competitive as guys in those fields and can even exceed them in those fields. To see the future of GoldieBlox as well as the future of girls in STEM education is truly gonna be something to look our for.
For a really inspiring talk about Girls and Engineering, watch Debbie’s Ted Talk: