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Toys: Solution for the lack of women in STEM fields?

By sandman33 Mar 28, 2014 716 Words
There is a major lack of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related fields, but more importantly there is a lack of a solution. “A 2009 poll by the American Society for Quality of Children 8-17, 24 percent of boys said they were interested in a career in engineering, but only 5 percent of girls said the same” (Qtd. in Dockterman). There is no question that there is a lack of women, in fact just over 1 out of 10 people in the engineering field are women. There is a lack of girls in these fields because they are not given the same opportunities that boys are given in STEM related fields at a young age and many girls are intimidated by a male dominated field without any female role model. But could there be a solution in the form of an engineering toy targeted toward girls? Goldie Blox is a toy that encourages girls from a young age to experience and have success with engineering. Toys are an effective solution for the lack of women in sciences because they allow young girls to discover their aptitude for the sciences. Some who say that toys are not the solution, like Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral candidate at the University of California Davis, would say that “these toys have the unintended effect of further reinforcing stereotypes that girls inherently less capable and in need of extra stimulation” (Qtd. in Dockterman). However, this logic is based on a fallacy. These toys are not “extra stimulation” they are an attempt to fill a need that has not yet been filled of the lack of encouragement and role modelling, not fulfill a need that is based on inaptitude. Girls need to discover their god given talents and that is exactly what these toys allow them to do. The need to fulfill this lack in the raising of young girls is outlined by Richard Gottlieb, a CEO of a toy industry consulting firm. Gottlieb says, “’wanting to be a doctor or architect or cook, that really begins when you’re young and walking around with a stethoscope or playing with an easy bake oven’” (Qtd. in Dockterman). By that same logic, the difference between becoming an engineer or a beauty queen is the difference between playing with engineering toys or a pink make up kit. Gender cannot be allowed to affect what young children with potential eventually become. If young women are not allowed to discover their talent and aptitude while they are young and their mind is developing, they are not able to follow their talents and discover a career that combines their aptitudes and their personal preferences. When females consider the STEM related fields they will find a male dominated field with lack of any viable female role model. It is a misconception brought about by the likes of Bob the builder, Bill Nye the science guy, and Jimmy Neutron, that in order to succeed you must have an astronomical I.Q. and never make a mistake. It is extremely intimidating for many kids, especially girls. A toy directed towards girls that encourages them to pursue engineering is a great solution to that intimidation as it allows the girl to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and continue to learn. These toys are successful in their attempt to assimilate women into the STEM fields because as Dockterman says, “Goldie is a female role model who neither fit the born-genius trope (Goldie makes mistakes and learns from them) nor the nerdy anti-social brunette girl with glasses- a stereotypical character found in many kids’ shows.” These toys find success because they are able to introduce the everyday young woman to the STEM fields without intimidation. This is important to their goal of introducing women to the sciences because if a young girl is intimidated by something she is unlikely to try it again. Goldie Blox and other toys that introduce women to the STEM related fields are viable and effective tools to help young girls discover their aptitudes and follow them into careers that utilize each of their unique talents. It is important to allow women the same opportunities that boys have to pursue the sciences and toys like these are exactly what girls need to pursue and succeed in future careers in STEM fields.

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