I stumbled upon a TedXTalk entitled: Inspiring the next generation of female engineers. The video begins with the speaker, Debbie Sterling, asking ourselves to picture an engineer. When you think of an engineer, do you think of a nerdy guy hunched over on his desk? A train engineer? How about a hipster in a hoodie? The question is: why don’t you immediately picture a woman?
In 2013, statistics showed that only 11% of women are in engineers. Engineering is a boys’ club. Girls outperform boys in math and science tests around the world, with the U.S. being an exception We are taught from a young age to be pretty, pink princesses. Girls don’t want to be smart growing up. They want to be pretty.
Debbie Sterling, the speaker at this specific TedXTalk, is an engineer and the founder of GoldieBox. Debbie decided to create GoldieBox as a way to help girls develop their spatial skills. GoldieBox combines construction set and stories which combines spatial and verbal skills. The lead heroine is a female engineer and role model.
Girls who play with only dolls tend to have underdeveloped spatial skills. Kids who score better on spatial skills grew up playing with construction toys. Girls aren’t encouraged to play with “boys’ toys” like Legos and Lincoln Logs. Girls are taught to play with dolls. Here’s hoping that GoldieBox and other initiatives will pave the way for future engineers.
I leave you with this Debbie Stirling quote:
“It’s not about being a born genius. It’s about hard work.” – Debbie Sterling