As a female engineer how can I not comment on the recent viral video with a house-sized Rube Goldberg machine that appeared to be constructed by 3 young girls? If you were one NOT of the 8+ million people who saw the video in the last week, check it out.
So, yes, brilliant marketing by the GoldieBlox gals, and even with the supposed lawsuit Beastie Boys has filed against the early stage toy company, that’s not too bad of press to have…especially considering it’s a bit farfetched of a filing to even successfully go through.
As someone who’s always been interested in engaging girls in the STEM fields, I think that there’s certainly something to be said about giving girls toys that lend themselves to construction and spacial challenges. As I had mentioned in a previous post, some of the research out there identifies the fact that girls tend to have less skills spatially and therefore benefit from the toys that boys have that improve spatial skills.
However, I do not think that construction toys alone will help drive more girls into STEM fields. Think of things like this viral video…a very intelligent marketing strategy that the GoldieBlox team was confident and visionary enough to pull off. I think particularly in the engineering and entrepreneurial spaces, having the confidence to present solutions to problems is often half the battle. You could be the most brilliant designer or programmer, but without being able to confidently share your design – usually through a story context in order to successfully “sell” – it is difficult to really make waves in any industry.
For parents and teachers out there, what are some ways that you help girls become more confident about their ideas to share them with the world? And perhaps create the next viral video?