A product review/promotion on International Day of the Girl? (especially when I don’t ever really do product reviews here). I know. Let me explain.
Today is International Day of the Girl – A day to celebrate girls worldwide and raise awareness about the obstacles and struggles many of them face. This day pushes people to help advocate for girls’s rights everywhere and to speak out about gender equality. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll find me linking to many stories throughout the day shining a light on girls around the globe who struggle daily against inequality.
And so, how does something called Goldieblox* connect with Day of the Girl? It’s no secret women are sorely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In fact, despite making up half of the workforce in the US, women comprise less than 25% of STEM-related jobs.
Camille Crittenden, director of the Data and Democracy Initiative at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) on the UC Berkeley campus, recently wrote about the importance of math and science programs for women, and emphasized how we can’t wait until college to engage them:
But reaching young women by the time they enter college is not soon enough. In order to increase female representation in STEM majors and graduate programs, it is essential to engage girls in related activities at K-12 levels.
There are some programs out there targeting elementary and high school age girls. In fact, PBS recently did a segment for their NewsHouse program looking at Techbridge, an after-school science and math program in Oakland, CA, specifically geared toward girls.
Watch Oakland Program Aims to Pique Girls’ Interest in Science, Tech Careers on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
But what about younger girls – toddlers or younger elementary students who aren’t old enough for after-school or enrichment programs? Looking around at my son and his friends, I see an overabundance of STEM-related toys to play with that are actively marketed solely to boys: LEGO, K’nex, and the like. Yes, sure. LEGO has their new girl-centric LEGO Friends collection – but you all know my thoughts on that. So when Sydney from Goldieblox contacted me, I was intrigued.
Goldieblox combines tech-focused play and reading, and is geared specifically at young girls in the hopes of connecting them to the STEM world at an earlier age. The toy itself is a construction set that comes accompanied by a book that takes the reader along on Goldie’s journey. As girls read along, they get to build the same things as Goldie. Debbie Sterling, Goldieblox’s creator, is a Stanford engineer who wants to help motivate and inspire young girls in the hopes that they will be the ones building our future. Check out Debbie’s informative Kickstarter campaign video to learn more.
The folks at Goldieblox have done an amazing job at crowd-sourcing and have so far raised almost $250,000. However, their goal is $400,000 and they have 6 days left to almost double their current contributions:
We have put a new stretch goal of $400,000 on Kickstarter! This is so that GoldieBlox can get the next two book+toys of the series to market as quickly as possible by hiring an illustrator and industrial designer and putting in the production orders. We are doing this to bring GoldieBlox to as many girls’ homes as quickly as possible, turning this toy into a movement to show our girls that we know they are more than just princesses.
They’re offering some fab rewards for contributing, including your own Goldieblox set for a donation of $30. So, please, check them out and help this burgeoning company achieve what they’ve set out to do: Inspire the next generation of female engineers by going beyond the “pink it and shrink it” method that the toy industry currently does to appeal to girls.
*I was not paid, nor was I provided with anything else in return for this post. The folks from Goldieblox simply sent me an email and I was actually rather impressed with what they’re trying to do – hence this post. I don’t write promotional (i.e. paid for) posts and I very rarely write about a product sent to me unsolicited. So, just an FYI to all you folks who have already sent multiple emails about your “awesome new food product” or “revolutionary new sexual enhancer.” Yeah. I’m talking to you.