Engi-nerd Grrls

Saturday, November 17, 2012
Sometimes I get discouraged at the appalling lack of women in my profession. As a female engineer, I'm often the only woman at the table, and even after all these years of mentoring, Junior Achievement, etc., it still feels like an uphill battle to encourage other women to choose engineering as a viable career. The field is not exactly welcoming, and oftentimes girls are not encouraged to get the education and training they need to break through.

Enter GoldieBlox, a new line of toys for girls that emphasize engineering tasks in ways that girls want to learn. The Kickstarter is over, and they're now taking preorders.

This makes me furiously happy. I've already ordered the first offering as a future Christmas gift for my Awesome, Awesome Niece, and anxiously await future developments. Bravo, Ms. Sterling. Bravo.

 

7 comments:

Matt said...

Ms. Samantha Sainopulos will be spending some serious time with her daddy and these toys . . . I'm hoping they come out with something for three year olds very soon!!

IllanoyGal said...

Thanks for the info, Janiece. I've got a five-year old grand-daughter that just might really enjoy something like this.

Warner said...

The Chair of the New York Section of IEEE, the largest section of the largest engineering professional society in the world, is a 30 year old woman.

She is also a young mother, working on an advanced degree and a very nice person. She first came to my notice, when I was Treasurer of said Section as our liaison with our student sections.

Balvinder Kaur

Janiece said...

Warner, I'm glad she's leading the way, but the fact of the matter is that while women have higher college graduation rates compared to men, men still disproportionately outnumber women in the number of Science and Engineering (STEM) degrees received. Between 1989 and 2008, the approximate percentages of women receiving their Bachelor’s degree in any engineering field were approximately 18%. Not exactly "representative."

Anne C. said...

The same can be said for architecture, even though about half of my graduate program was filled with women switching from other professions into architecture. In our case, part of the problem is the culture of architecture: too long hours for too little pay.

Warner said...

I hear you, the screams of outrage I have gotten for trying (and I think succeeding) in getting a few women into the field have been incredible.

But just as there are a few old white men who voted for the President, there are a few old white men who think there should be more women in Engineering.

In the last 20 years I've worked on development and documentation such major engineering systems as HD-TV, Closed Captioning and Cable Modems at the national level, and HD-TV and Intellectual Property at the International level, I can count the technical women on the fingers of one hand. I can only hope this improves. [The head of technology of MPA, who took over one of my committees when I retired, is a woman, and an excellent engineer.]

I have worked with the Hudson Valley Engineering Expo, where we try and introduce jr. high and middle school students to STEM. I've seen some amazing young ladies win robotics and bridge building competitions. We can only hope.

beatrice in Paris said...

Oh, I wish I had toys like this forty years ago. I also wish she sold in France.