After Debbie Sterling graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design, she recognized two things:
- only about 11% of engineers are women, and
- not all little girls want to play with dolls and kitchen sets.
She decided to create a line of construction toys especially for girls. She began with a construction set and a companion book series starring Goldie, “the kid inventor who loves to build.” These were the beginning of her company GoldieBlox, which was initially funded with her own life savings and with money raised through KickStarter. The company website describes the GoldieBlox mission:
“In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math – and girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8, GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they've been considered ‘boys' toys’. By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”
In the following 2-minute video advertisement, three girls have created a very charming Rube Goldberg machine titled the “Princess Machine” to showcase construction skills and imagination presumably developed through playing with GoldieBlox toys.
James Norton, a blogger for the Christian Science Monitor, compared the GoldieBlox video to a 2010 music video by the alternative rock band OK Go. Just for fun, I thought I would share that 4-minute video with you as well.
The number of available skilled craftspersons continues to dwindle while the need for them rises. As companies seek to recruit candidates for their workforce development programs, perhaps more and more often they will consider young women for these positions traditionally offered to men, especially if young girls are encouraged to play with toys which will inspire them to consider careers in construction.