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"I can't wait to have her sitting there on store shelves in her overalls and her tool belt, because I think that that sends a strong message," Sterling said.
Sterling hopes will move that statistic in the favor of women. The toy lands on store shelves next month, but the first 18,000 pre ordered copies are set to be delivered this week. Already, Sterling has plans to make into a series and says she's set to launch an interactive digital version for the iPad late this year.
Toys are a crucial entry point for kids to get exposure to STEM disciplines, and girls miss out on some of the early playtime experiences necessary to develop those skills, said Yvonne Ng, who heads St. Catherine University's National Center for STEM Elementary Education.
According to studies by the American Association of University Women, about 87 percent of professional engineers are men.
and science, which they see as a boys' subjects where girls can't succeed. That self doubt extends to higher education, where girls are more likely to drop out of science and math based majors.
The book, written and illustrated by Sterling, follows Goldie as she invents machines and problem solves with a cast of animal friends that includes a Spanish speaking dog, Nacho, and a tutu wearing pink dolphin. The pegboard and tool kit allow kids to build whatever Goldie is building in the book, and learn engineering concepts, like how a wheel and axle work and the basics of tension, force and friction.
boys versus girls," Liben said. "It tells people that boys and girls are different when it comes to playing or building or getting dirty. That can be problematic because not every kid fits that gender tendency that might be typical."
is the brainchild of Stanford graduate and engineer turned entrepreneur Debbie Sterling. She created which includes a construction toy set and storybook starring the tool wielding character Goldie to teach girls basic engineering skills and open more pathways for women to pursue jobs in the male dominated industry.
"There's this belief that they're not competent, even if their grades say they are," Ng said. "Women don't feel like an engineer. They feel like an impostor."
The project was inspired by the gender inequity Sterling witnessed firsthand as an engineering student.
"We're not engaging girls. We're still thinking in very male terms," Ng said.
Sterling, 30, hopes that the soon to be released will teach more Michael Kors Purse Rose Gold Hardware
But this isn't just a plug for girl power; Oakland Michael Kors Fanny Pack based has caught the attention of researchers and educators across the country who say the toy could help engage more girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, an education priority for the Obama administration.
"There is clearly an interest in having daughters grow up to major in not only biology but in engineering and math," she said. "Times have changed in terms of thinking of women doing these things."
"I was one of very few women in the program," she said. "In every class I went into, I was always one of a handful of girls in a room of 80 or 90 people. It's hard being a minority in a male dominated field."
"Many toy companies are still marketing to Michael Kors Handbags Teal
Debbie Sterling, founder of Inc., demonstrates how to play her new toy for girls called Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine at their new office in Oakland on Feb. 20, 2013. Sterling founded the company last year with a mission to teach young girls basic engineering principles through toys. (Laura A. Oda/Staff)
"I'm trying to give girls something more than just dolls and princesses," she said.
But two decades after a talking Barbie doll was famously criticized by women's groups for saying "math class is tough," the $21 billion toy industry is showing signs of change. Last month's New York International Toy Fair, one of the largest industry events to showcase new products, featured a handful of girl focused toys to teach STEM skills. Among them was Nancy B's Science Club, a line of science journals and microscopes, binoculars and telescopes for girls.
By the fifth grade, Ng said, many girls have "checked out" of math Michael Kors Greenwich Merlot
The successes, or failures, of will be carefully tracked by a Penn State University professor and graduate student who will spend the next couple of years studying the effect the toy has on girls. Lynn Liben, a distinguished professor of psychology who is leading the research, said that is one of the few toys that breaks the gender stereotypes reinforced by the toy industry.
girls to love tech heavy disciplines and open their minds to engineering. And if Sterling can shake up the old school toy industry, which for years has offered girls little more than busty dolls and pink Legos, all the better, she said.
Debbie Sterling, founder of , Inc., poses with stacks of her new toy for girls called Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine at her new office in Oakland on Feb. This Goldie is a lady engineer character who invents, designs and builds to inspire a future generation of women engineers.
"If you're a little girl, you have Barbie and Polly Pocket," Sterling said. "You have fashion icons and beauty and spa, and you're told what's important is what you look like."
Nancy Balter, who led the toy's development for Gardena based company Educational Insights, said parents and grandparents are also losing interest in the old princesses and dolls.
Sterling, who graduated from Stanford with an engineering degree in 2005, developed with help from Kickstarter, an online "crowdfunding" platform for creative projects. She raised $286,000 almost twice her goal in about a month. After her fundraising video went viral on social media, she received about 22,000 online pre orders for the toy, which brought in money to start production.
GoldieBlox helps prepare girls for jobs in a man's world
The message is this: engineering isn't just for boys.
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