New GoldieBlox Books for Underrepresented STEM Girls

Both the new GoldieBlox books and the American Girl book Kit helps girls see a new identity of “girl” as it shows that it is okay to be a lover of STEM and not enjoy the typical girl activities you see in children’s books today.

In children books, girls are usually represented as princesses or playing with dolls.  It is very rare to see a girl represented as an aspiring engineer.  That’s why GoldieBlox, a toy company that makes items such as a zip line and a skydiving kit, is creating books that represents a girl engineer that girls can look up to and see their identity in. The founder of GoldieBlox said, “On TIME’s list of 100 Best Children’s Books, only 53 included female characters who spoke, and even less had female characters who weren’t princesses or girls waiting on their prince.”  Clearly, girls that identified as a lover of making things or inventing things were not represented in books.

The Keyword’s article “Identity” says, “Adults have long believed that it is crucial for children to see themselves in the book so that their particular identity structures are validated and affirmed.”  This is what the new GoldieBlox books will do for girls that aspire to work in the STEM field someday.  “Identity” also talks about how children learn how to perform based on the feedback they receive from others or how people react to them.  Girls typically learn from books that it is weird and not normal to love STEM.  Since childhood is a time of identity formation, it is important that girls are shown a variety of different identities, so they don’t assume one is right and the other is wrong.

In the American Girl book Kit, you will see Kit struggle with gender norms which is a factor that helps form identity.  Kit’s mom made her room all pink and girly which Kit did not like. She wanted to make a tree house instead to live in.  By American Girl creating a girl character that loves to create things, play sports, write, and dislikes princesses is showing girls that it is okay to identify as something other than what is overplayed in children’s books.

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4 thoughts on “New GoldieBlox Books for Underrepresented STEM Girls”

  1. As someone who works at the engineering school I notice seeing student class lists, and ones that come in my office it is majority men! I think this is great, and that it hopefully will spark something good and lead to more women in the STEM fields. I hope that this would also lead to more girls going into the field and striving to do it no matter what others think. Maybe if more girls see these kinds of books coming up this gender divide in these types of careers will eventually disappear. There is still obviously much work to do but hopefully more works like this are created!

  2. I really enjoy the release of this series of books, as I feel children (especially girls) are highly influenced by the stories they read about children like themselves. Psychologically speaking, children learn norms and behavior through observation; in social studies, like the Bobo Doll study, adult role models displaying aggressive behaviors toward an inanimate object leads children who see this to act aggressively as well. Thus, influence from outside sources highly affects a child’s behavior and attitudes. Therefore, a child viewing another successful child working with concepts of math and science will encourage the reader to act in that way. Additionally, STEM fields are dying for female students and workers.

  3. I was recently at a Student Org meeting where our main discussion was the huge gender gap regarding women in the STEM field. Through that discussion, we talked about how toys like these are important for girls to play with at a young age, just like your argument on identity development discusses! Hopefully starting to increase the amount of girls even playing with engineering-style toys will increase women in STEM careers.

  4. I love this! I love that women who are interested in STEM careers or little girls who find science and math cool, are finally being represented. As an aspiring elementary education teacher, my career is overwhelming seen in books geared towards young girls. I remember growing up and reading many books where girls were told to be teachers or vets or something that was seen as “girlier.” Despite the fact that my career is typically represented, I had three roommates who were going for engineering and they are extremely smart and empowering. I love that they are finally being represented and that young girls are able to indulge in STEM fields.

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