Girls in engineering - Barbie hits the wrong notePosted: 23rd of November 2014 by
In a book published by Random House, Barbie is supposed to inspire and encourage young girls to take on roles traditionally perceived as being male. However, Barbie seems to have hit the wrong note and it has been pointed out that the text on one of the pages (below) points instead to Barbie only being capable of design work, needing the help of two male counterparts for the coding and development element.
Well, we certainly don’t agree, and we don’t think that Sophia George who was the games designer in residence at the V&A would either- you can read an interview with Sophia here.
At breakfast one morning, Barbie is already hard at work on her laptop.
“What are you doing, Barbie?” asks Skipper.
“I’m designing a game that shows kids how computers work,” explains Barbie. “You can make a robot puppy do cute tricks by matching up colored blocks!”
“Your robot puppy is so sweet,” says Skipper. “Can I play your game?”
“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”
Perceptions play a large part in influencing the careers that young people feel they can do or that are ‘appropriate’ to them and it would appear that sometimes even those who are well-meaning simply get it wrong. Encouraging females into STEM subjects and careers is not about making USB sticks pink to try to appeal to them, nor is it about expecting females to become more ‘manly’ - it’s about challenging and changing stereotypes and ill-placed perceptions and about simply providing information for all young people so that they can make the right career choice for them.
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