Women are underrepresented in the field of engineering. In 2009, only 17.8% of undergraduate degrees in the field were awarded to women, dropping to the lowest level in 15 years, according to the American Society of Engineering Education.
One young entrepreneur is trying to remedy the problem by exposing young girls to engineering at a young age. “Toys are gendered in a certain way to promote different learning and play patterns,” says Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of Goldie Blox. “I think kids kind of begin to understand that building and science is for boys and decorating and being pretty is for girls.”
At first glance, Goldie Blox seems like an ordinary toy geared towards young girls, with its pink ribbons and character named Goldie. But girls inadvertently learn the concepts of a wheel, axle, and belt-drive while playing with it.
It’s a small step towards piquing girls’ interest in basic mechanics, but Sterling hopes it will open them up to future possibilities. “Everything is built by engineers. Women are our largest untapped resource. This has to happen.”