Posted by: katrinaasher13 | March 10, 2016

Engineering Kits

So I followed up on the company that is making engineering kits for girls.  The official name of the company is Think Like a Girl: Engineering Kits.  Below is a little about the company and the product they are designing.  I had a chance to interview one of the co-founders. A portion of our interview is below as well.

Each of the kits the all-female team is developing will include an engineering activity with supplied components; a Gadget Guide story that focuses on the activity while telling a tale and applying the engineering lessons to real-world situations; a Real Woman Engineer Trading Card; a Sustainability Fact Card; a small Design Project; and a “Sur-Prize,” a small prize relating to the kit’s theme. All of the kit’s packing materials are eco-friendly and biodegradable. – See more at: http://today.rowan.edu/home/news/2015/12/17/thinking-girl-means-engineering-business#sthash.VFX12PNC.dpuf

Katrina (interviewer): Can you tell me a little more about who will be on some of the engineering cards?

Lexi (co-founder): So for the engineering cards our vision is to have real women engineers in industry that relates back to the box’s theme of the month. For example, our prototype box is about structural engineering so we are featuring a structural engineer on the card. We are still in the process of reaching out to different individuals, but we have a TON of great contacts and options!

Katrina: Will you have a specific color scheme for you company, or will it be by theme?

Lexi: The main colors for our company are teal (like on our logo) and orange! We tried to stray away from the traditional pink color scheme because girls tend to also stray away from the pink and purple color scheme during middle school years. We have also had a lot of feedback from people saying how they like that our colors aren’t pink and purple.

The color scheme and idea behind the product are some ideas we have talked about in class.  In class we asked why tools that were pink were labeled for girls and why there had to be a color difference.  The explanation of why the engineering kits will not be pink and purple is a great way to help try to get more women excited about science.  I like that a lot of the choices the company is making is based on what their audience wants and not what society has been saying. I also like how each kit is designed to be encouraging by giving examples of women in engineering fields. We also talked about having strong mentors, or role models to help women grow, and that is the idea behind the cards. The kits are still in the prototype stage but the company is confident they will be in production soon.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. I’m certainly not up to date on engineering kits and anything of that matter but it sounds interesting. I think that it’s great that these women are creating something that they believe will benefit others in the future. It’s not only inspiring to see them be creative as a company but also how they want to inspire young girls and women.I do think it could be beneficial for them to have strayed away from the typical pink and blue color scheme because there is such a wide variety of interests now a days with girls enjoying colors other than pink and purple. Fun fact: I learned in my Childhood Studies class that the creation of that color distinction came about in the 1920s, so in perspective it hasn’t been around that long. I think there are other benefits to these kits. As a child, I was also interested in DIY kits so to speak and I think that this could boost creativity in some pretty cool ways and also let girls explore their interests outside of dolls and coloring (or whatever they might be interested in).

  2. I often struggle between whether or not we should make toys “for girls” and “for boys”, because I don’t know if that further separates the two, and creates a divide. But also, the fact of the matter is that at this point, there are not alot of women engineers in the field, and that is not being encouraged from a young age as a field that girls should enter. So, maybe they do need to target these girls to an extent, and provide them with some special attention in these kits, such as the example of the successful women engineers in the field. While this may be controversial, I can see the benefit in it, especially for the pure reason of exposing girls to other females in the field and helping them to see themselves in that role by having someone like them to look up to. I think that they went about it in the best way to stray away from the pink and purple colors, and it doesn’t seem like other than the card with a professional, there are any real differences between this kit for a girl and a similar product for a boy. But (to counter my own argument) I think it would be cool to not specify them for girls, so that boys wouldn’t be afraid to buy these and also get more comfortable with seeing women professionals in this field so they don’t fight it in the future but instead create a welcoming space for women.

  3. I think this is a great idea! One of the biggest problems in our field is that many women don’t have mentors to look up to and feel encouraged from. While I’m not usually for gendered toys, or things in general, I think it is a great idea to promote more women in a field where there are so SO few women, just to get the numbers up. I think after the odds start looking a little better, there can be less gender specific toys, but for now, I think its awesome! Especially because it’s gendered, but not in a “come buy my pink, girly, frilly toy” way. Instead, it focuses on ways to promote women in the field to further the interest of young girls. I am very excited about the way the company went about creating these kits and I’m excited to see if more things like this start popping up for us STEM girls!

  4. A subject that has come up often is the idea of showing young girls that women can do absolutely anything that men can do.
    I’ve been thinking about this topic and it struck me as more difficult than it should. As I first saw it, there are two options: tell young girls that they can do absolutely anything that men can do (avoiding even the idea that women and men are often seen as unequal) or tell young girls that they will face difficulties because of these societal norms.
    I worry that the girls in the first option will be blindsided by this realization that the world is not as equal as they had expected.
    However, I thought about this more and more and realized that if we continue to empower, support, and inspire girls to be the absolute greatest they can be, then more and more women will become leaders. More and more women will not be afraid of the glass ceiling or the discrimination because they are empowered, supported, and inspired.
    By doing this, maybe by the time we have kids that second option will not even exist because so many of their parents (us) had been told that they can do absolutely anything.

  5. I think this company has a great idea. We need more women role models, bottom line. So by all means, target your engineering kits towards girls and encourage them to believe they can become whatever they choose. I applaud the company for not sticking to traditional “girl colors” of pink and purple. I have always loved the color blue and appreciate the idea of toys for girls in more colors than pink and purple. The more we as a whole see more female role models, the better our chances of shattering the glass ceiling are. Thanks for following up Katrina!

  6. I’m so glad you followed up with this company! When I heard you mention it in class I was initially very interested for no other reason than the brands name—“Think Like a Girl: Engineering Kits”. To start off, I would like to mention a couple issues I find with the company. Firstly, making a brand that is exclusively for “girls” seems to not only create an obvious bias towards women, but to further gender biases in equality. Of course I don’t like that women are more often discriminated against, but I don’t think creating a brand that is exclusive to one gender sends the right message; us versus them. It just perpetuates the problem of gender equality. I definitely get that some may see brands like this as affirmative action initiatives, but personally, I don’t see it as bettering the central issue. Another thing that I find particularly interesting is the “real woman engineer trading card”. What came to mind was the question of what constituted a “real woman”? I can’t explicitly define it myself. A real woman is any woman? Maybe? I’m really unsure. Point is, there needs to be a better name for this trading series because it excludes women that aren’t “real women,” whatever that means. On a good note, I think choosing to use colors that are more neutral in gender is a good choice because it doesn’t lend a bias towards either gender. This is an idea on the right track with gender equality. Overall neat idea! It’s innovative, but I would work out some kinks to make the leadership more about engineering in general instead of this gender over this other gender.

    Thanks for the post!

  7. I am partially torn on this idea that there are toys made for boys and toys made for girls. I remember as a child, being the only girl with two brothers that I would always receive the toys that were pink and girl themed while my brothers would get seemingly much cooler toys. As a result, I grew to hate everything pink and “girl-related” and became very tomboyish. My brothers would often ask for something from the girl section of the toy store and our mom would quickly tell them no. Yet, if i wanted a toy from the boy section, it was no problem. On one hand, it is great that there are children are given toys that express their passions. On the other hand, children should be allowed to play with whatever toys they want. The color of a toy should not matter, only that the child enjoys the toy.


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