Need This New Invention? GoldieBlox
When it comes to girls, there has been a major problem with the toy aisle for decades, and most of it was colored pink. Many girls have long felt that they have been force-fed the toy industry's pink girl stereotype. Debbie Sterling wanted to change this and created GoldieBlox, a toy set for girls that encourages them to explore the world of engineering on their own terms. While some of the components are pink, it is not the major color of the toy to pointedly market it for girls only.
Sterling's own story is behind the development of GoldieBlox. It wasn't until she was in high school and her math teacher suggested that she give the field of engineering a try that she had even heard of the field. Once she stopped wondering why the teacher thought she should drive a train, she tried engineering in college and found a new passion. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering and realizing how few women there were in the field, she decided that it was time for things to change. Sterling became obsessed with the idea of "disturbing the pink aisle" with a toy that would introduce little girls to the joy and wonder of engineering.
The toy is designed to make use of girls' strong verbal skills and also foster an increasing confidence in the use of spatial skills. It also allows these young inventors the skills to build and create whatever they can imagine. Construction toys have always been considered "boy toys" and have left girls out in the cold so that they tend to lose interest by the age of eight. By designing a building toy from the female perspective Sterling hopes to inspire future generations of women to become engineers.
In addition to the game, each toy comes with a book about a girl named Goldie who is a girl inventor and her adventures in engineering. The stories help open the imagination and give girls the latitude to create their own gadgets. It gives them a chance to dream a different dream.
This isn't just based on theory. The company has spent a great deal of time researching the issue of gender differences, talked with experts at Harvard, and observing how children play to come up with just the right combination of toy components and inspiring stories.
An advertisement for GoldieBlox shows three girls bored with watching some frothy pink princess group of girls on television. They get up, don tool belts, hard hats, and goggles to build their own Rube Goldberg-style gizmo. Of course, they are also having the time of their lives.
Sterling and GoldieBlox are hoping to start something of a cultural revolution to create a world where girls can be as good at match, technology, and science as they already have the ability to be. It's about empowering the world with girl power. Of course, there is nothing really wrong with the color pink, just in the way it has long been used to define girls. And it is certainly okay to be a princess, but why not be a princess who designs her own castles, moats, and drawbridges?
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Laurie Kay Olson
Clever Problem Solvers