Engineering for Girls [Sex in the News]

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If walking through the mall tells you anything, it’s that Christmas is on its way. For anyone with younger girls on their gift-list, they might have taken a wander through the all-pink-everything “Girls” toy section. Here you’ll find baby-dolls to practice being a mom, toy kitchens or toy cleaning supplies and lots of princess gear. And though you might find the pink version of Legos or other building toys, they’re usually less complicated or a little over-the-top girly.

Well Debbie Sterling, an engineer from Stanford University decided she’d had enough. Sure you can find toys encouraging girls to be princesses (which, Sonia Sotomayor reminds us is not a career), but where are the toys encouraging to break into a male-dominated industry such as engineering. So Sterling developed Goldie Blox, a building toy set that develops spatial skills and comes from a female perspective. And rather than simply being a pink-version of a boys toy set, it’s built upon research that shows boys and girls learn differently. Girls learn by reading, and Sterling’s created a book (that will be a series) to accompany the blocks.

While Goldie Blox is just in production now and won’t be ready until the spring, we should be thinking about ways to encourage the next generation of girls to be anything they want. And what better time to do this than over Christmas. Whether you change all the pronouns in a male-centric video game, or sign your younger sister up for a course on code, I think it’s time to think outside the princess box.

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