When you ask a little girl what she wants to be when she grows up, the most common answer will be a princess. While more females than males are attending college in the US, the field of engineering is still largely dominated by males (89%). Seeing this disparity in her classes, Stanford engineer Debbie Sterling made it her mission to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. She attributes much of this gap to the gender roles perpetuated through children’s toys. The girls’ aisle is filled with dolls and dress up clothes to train future housewives while boys’ are developing spatial skills through toys like K’nex, Legos, and Tinker Toys. While those companies have made pink versions of their toys, they fail to interest little girls because they lack reading, which, studies have shown, is preferred by little girls. Little girls need to develop spatial reasoning too so that they have all of the same opportunities as boys to shape our world in the future. This is why Sterling created Goldie Blox![see_also]
Goldie Blox comes with books of stories which propose problems that can be solved through building simple machines with the pink and purple plastic pegboard, spools, and figures of the story characters. Sterling’s Kickstarter project was so well received that her goal of $150,000 was reached in 5 days and then nearly doubled! The toy is geared for girls aged 5-9 and can be pre-ordered at GoldieBlox.com for an April 2013 estimated delivery date. I know what all the little girls I know will be getting for their birthdays next year!