Debbie Sterling Lewis is a gal in a man’s world. She is one of only 11 percent of female engineers. She recognizes that this is wrong and needs changing.
While 89 percent of male engineers probably haven’t considered how lopsided the numbers are, they definitely haven’t done what Debbie has. Lewis put her entire life savings on the line to design a book and building set that would appeal to girls, and help them realize that they can be more than a princess.
When you walk down the building toy isle at a store like Toys R Us, you will almost always see pictures of boys on the boxes. They often have scary looking dinosaurs or monsters on them. While we may be breaking racial barriers – there are more African American children represented now, (still not many Asians or Latinos), girls lag behind.
Some toy manufacturers try to appeal to girls by making the box pink. While, yes, some girls do like pink, that’s not how to get them to want a new toy. (By the way, some girls hate pink!)
So, Lewis went to work to figure out a toy to get girls interested in building and inventing. (Hint: It’s not pink.) After doing lots of research, she found out that the best combination was visual plus verbal. So, she designed a book that has a girl named Goldie going along solving problems by building things. The book goes with a building set that you can do along with her. So, your child gets to build all the things she reads about in the book. Girls get excited by figuring it out. It’s called GoldieBlox.
The premise is that girls need to have some other behavior models than just emulating beauty. Dressing up as a princess is fine, but what do princesses even do? Usually they just wait around to get rescued by the prince. It’s not a very “take charge” attitude. Girls need to have all the same skills that are taught to boys on a daily basis. It’s a call to action to get girls into the idea that they are powerful, creative and smart.
“The scary truth is that only 11 percent of engineers are women and girls start losing interest in science as young as age 8! This is our chance to change that statistic,” said Sterling Lewis.