Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your daughter is more than a princess!

One of the things I find so interesting about kids, toys and expectations is that even in the year 2012, most toys seem to be really gender stereotypical.  While I fully understand that boys and girls tend to play and think differently, I do get disappointed that that main career options demonstrated to girls are mother, teacher, pop star, and princess.  Let's be honest here, how many of our daughters are really going to end up as pop stars or princesses?  That really leaves them with two career options to consider.

Although some companies are doing their best to try and engage girls in toys that some may consider more typically "boy" toys, does Lego have to be pink to appeal to girls?  Does Barbie have to wear a mini-skirt to be a doctor? 

This is why I got so excited when I stumbled upon this video from Debbie, a female engineer from Stanford University.  She had been disappointed by the small number of women in her engineering program and wondered how we could encourage more girls to give consideration to a career in engineering.  Debbie came up with a solution.  She created this fabulous toy called GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox stars Goldie, the girl inventor, who goes on adventures with her friends.  They solve problems by building simple machines. Your little girl gets to join in on the adventures by building their inventions with her own toolkit.

The video below really sums it up nicely. 

I have no interests in the success or failure of this product but I just loved the innovation behind it.  I love that it is encouraging our girls to think beyond the pink, to expand their ideas of what they are capable of and to open their eyes to other career paths.
I am by no means suggesting that every girl who plays with this will end up an engineer but I remember being in high school and having to choose my focus, which universities to apply to, and what I wanted to be when I graduated.  I thought I knew but in hindsight I realise that I didn't have a lot of information about all the careers possibilities that were out there for me.  Maybe with toys like this we can open a few more doors for our daughters. 
Now, I don't want to play further into gender stereotypes and dismiss this as only a "girl" toy.  The benefits of boys playing with GoldieBlox are great too.  As it states in the video, boys are more prone to building than reading.  Following written instructions is a great learning tool that our boys could benefit from too.  As well it can't hurt for them to see a female protagonist solving engineering problems. 
I hope Debbie is hugely successful in her venture!
What toys do your kids play with that allow them to expand their imaginations?

1 comment :

  1. I love this post. Mainly because it speaks to me as an engineer (I was 1 of 15 females in a class of 120) and now as a mom. We have many open ended toys here at our house - building blocks, lego, moulding clay, sticks with connectors, crayons, paint, glue etc.

    They use their imagination instead of sitting pressing a button on a toy which then gets tossed aside 5 seconds later. My 4 year old can play with open ended toys for about an hour before she says she's bored! And it's much quieter than playing with toys that require batteries! ;)


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