Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Toys Technology

Are Girl-Focused Engineering Toys Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes? 490

theodp writes: VentureBeat's Ruth Read casts a skeptical eye at the current rage of toy segregation meant to inspire tomorrow's leaders in STEM: "Toys geared at girls serve to get them interested in coding and building when they're young, hopefully inspiring their educational interests down the road. But these gendered toys may be hurting women by perpetuating a divide between men and women." Read concludes, "Ultimately, girls (who will become women) are going to have to learn and work in a world where genders are not segregated; as will men. That means they need to learn how to interact with one another as much as they need to be introduced to the same educational opportunities. If STEM education is as much for girls as it is for boys, perhaps we should be equally concerned with getting boys and girls to play together with the same toys and tools, as we are with creating learning opportunities for girls."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Are Girl-Focused Engineering Toys Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes?

Comments Filter:
  • Equality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:13AM (#49960865)
    Both genders should have the same opportunities. They don't necessarily have the same interests.
    • Re:Equality (Score:5, Interesting)

      by antiperimetaparalogo ( 4091871 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:44AM (#49961019)

      Both genders should have the same opportunities. They don't necessarily have the same interests.

      And the more "gender equality on opportunities" for a society, the more evident the -biology based- gender differences on interests becomes (since boys choose boy toys/jobs and girls choose girl toys/jobs, because they feel free to choose what they like): a great documentary (first watch it after a fellow Slashdoter posted a couple of months ago) from -maybe the most "gender equality" society of the world- Norway (with English subtitles), called "The Gender Equality Paradox" [youtube.com], with -among other things- scientists proving the gender biological differences (with "toy experiments" on children), plus... "religious feminists" ignoring science!

      note: the documentary was made from a usual extreme political correct Norwegian person... not a sexist Greek like me - so: watch it!

      • by jcr ( 53032 )

        I watched that show some time ago, and what I concluded was that the "social scientists" he interviewed aren't scientists at all. They emotionally rejected the data from actual scientists that didn't support their wishful thinking.

        -jcr

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          That "fun" part starts at 32.25 of the video... how (left-wing) European (social) "scientists" reject science in the most tragic/comic way!
        • When it comes to "social" scientists or anything involving race or gender studies? They pretty much just outright ignore or reject anything that doesn't follow their political narrative. Watch "This Week In Stupid" by Sargon Of Akkad on YouTube and you'll see case after case of science and even common sense ignored to push the political narrative.

          As for TFA as long as they have the choice and are not being forced to choose against their own desire? Leave 'em be and let 'em choose what they like. I am so sic

    • This (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:48AM (#49961059)

      Except that there may well be a large influence in the culture handed over by upbringing. That is, we think both genders get the same opportunities only they don't, not really. This was much stronger previously but may still be there more than we think.

      Then again, I'm not sure that clumsily done toys to get women into engineering isn't overcompensating the whole thing, and maybe the effect they're trying to counteract and compensate for isn't as strong as the proponents of these toys may have assumed.

      To wit, you still see people derping about the "gender gap" in pay, which upon closer examination turns out to be all but nonexistent. There is a maternity gap in pay, but that, while related, isn't quite the same thing. Women appear to be getting paid the same for the same amount of work, but many prefer to work less, moreso if with children. Should employers pay more for the same amount of work done just because the employee is with child? If so, why?

      Back to this here thing: I don't know what the problem really is and so I don't know if these toys are going to help or hinder. Of course you can just throw your solution into the market and see how it does. But then the answer is "time will tell".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Men and women, boys and girls are different, but still the only voice we hear is Wimmin's Studies lunatics shouting for 50-50 everything ( well everything where men currently dominate ).

      • Re:Equality (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:05AM (#49961137)

        No, not everything where men currently dominate. Not mining, not oil rig work, not farming, not anything involving manual or dangerous labour.

        Only fields where there's lots of money and\or social status

        • Re:Equality (Score:5, Interesting)

          by I'm New Around Here ( 1154723 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @09:22AM (#49961679)

          No, not everything where men currently dominate. Not mining, not oil rig work, not farming, not anything involving manual or dangerous labour.

          There was actually a lawsuit a while ago about a company that wouldn't let women work in the car battery division. Because of the risk of lead getting into the workers' systems, and the effects of lead on a developing fetus, no woman of child-bearing age was allowed to work there, unless she had her tubes tied.

          Of course, the job paid more than other areas, because the men and older women who worked there were exposing themselves to lead poisoning every day.

          http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03... [nytimes.com]

          other stories of it: https://www.google.com/webhp?c... [google.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        only the none physical and high paying jobs, none of the feminist are trying to get more women into garbage collection, construction, fishing, you know stuff that are hard dirty and dangerous

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that society has a huge influence on what is accepted for a given gender.

      It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to go to bed in a set of boxers and a white t-shirt.

      However, it is unacceptable for a man to go to bed in a lace teddy and panties, even when his girlfriend is laying there in said boxers. :P

      No amount of blue will make that lace teddy and panties "OK"

      • by invid ( 163714 )

        It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to go to bed in a set of boxers and a white t-shirt. However, it is unacceptable for a man to go to bed in a lace teddy and panties, even when his girlfriend is laying there in said boxers. :P

        I think a better example would be skirts. It is socially acceptable for a woman to go to work either in pants or a skirt. However, if I (as a male) came to work in a skirt I would be asked into the bosses office and told to go home and get changed. This being summertime I imagine a skirt would be quite cool and comfortable.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

      Bullshit: the article itself pointed to why there's some sort of problem now right in the first few paragraphs: back in 1985, women comprised 37 percent of CS students. Now it's only 18%.

      What's changed?

      Obviously, you can say that the amount of interest by the two sexes is not the same, but apparently there was more interest by girls back in the 1980s. Why is it different now? That seems to be the question that no one is asking.

      • Bullshit: the article itself pointed to why there's some sort of problem now right in the first few paragraphs: back in 1985, women comprised 37 percent of CS students. Now it's only 18%.

        What's changed?

        After an initial period of trying out different fields, most women figured out that Computers were not what they were interested in?

        • That was a generation ago; these aren't the same women, so your explanation makes zero sense. Something's changed in society.

          • Re:Equality (Score:5, Interesting)

            by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @10:11AM (#49962085) Homepage

            Maybe something's changed in CS. 30 years ago, it was probably more about research into computers. Now, almost everybody who is going into CS has no interest at all in doing computer research. They are mostly interested in doing software development. The entire field has changed focused. More than likely, if you take CS, you'll end up writing code for some thankless corporation who doesn't understand what code is and just wants to churn out stuff as fast as possible. 30 years ago, you'd be much more likely to end up working for NASA, Xerox PARC, IBM, or some other research focused company.

            Which leads to another problem. People coming out of CS degrees are often very badly equipped to be doing what they actually end up doing in the real world. Personally, I'm happy that I took software engineering. It prepared me much better for real life jobs in software development than my counterparts in CS who spent a lot more time focusing on the internals of how various algorithms worked.

      • I'm assuming the article is referencing this data: http://www.randalolson.com/wp-... [randalolson.com]. That is a pretty striking curve, though there are two interesting points to make:
        - Women have made consistent gains year to year in nearly every engineering and "hard science" field, some more than others (biology is a standout)
        - The absolute number of women CS graduates is actually increasing as well - it's just that male graduate numbers are increasing at about twice the rate.

        H

      • Re:Equality (Score:4, Insightful)

        by psm321 ( 450181 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @10:50AM (#49962437) Journal
        I'm not female, so excuse the potential mansplaining, but I suspect it has a lot to do with changes overall in software and society. Back in 85 the people getting into CS were hardcore nerds, male or female, not just looking for a job that was popular or going to make a lot of money. This means that it was full of true nerd culture, and not either "brogrammer" or "SJW" culture, both of which I think repel true nerds. Then more overall societal pressures mean that non-nerd men are much more likely to get into software than non-nerd women, whereas the nerds of either gender didn't care what society thought.

        I also suspect (and this is where the potential mansplaining comes in, but I do have backup) that the fact that women in tech are now WOMEN in tech, versus women IN TECH is probably driving away nerdy women who just want to get their nerd on and not deal with conferences about women in tech, etc. I think this article is a really good read (and the comments from people criticizing her for it are also telling): http://www.linuxjournal.com/co... [linuxjournal.com]
    • Getting more women into STEM is not about glitter, or color choice, or upper body strength, or the need for occasional time off to bear children. It has to be about overcoming the risk-averse fearfulness that pervades women's culture. Feminists need to accept that this problem exists as a holdover from primordial gender roles and that it is no longer needed in modern society. It needs to be discussed as openly as we hash over the ancient problem of aggression in men. If women are going to make the most of t

  • Fuck SJWDot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:19AM (#49960889)

    Remember when this site wasn't constantly about SJW topics and jobs? When it didn't try to make you feel bad for being a nerd?

    Screw you Dice.

    • by xdor ( 1218206 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:35PM (#49966569)
      I finally realized what all this pressure for female coders is about! The powers that be want to be able to eliminate all their male competition: (e.g. like schools of fish or Dr. Strangelove [imdb.com]). Since the technocracy is rising, they can soon rely on robots for all the heavy lifting -- their only problem remaining is the maintaince and programming of the robots and systems they don't want to be bothered with -- so they still need some annoying technical people around. At the moment they're mostly male. :( Not good if you're trying to be the last man on earth! Conclusion: if the goal is for the males that are now in power (or their great-grandsons who will be in power) to be the only males on the face of the planet: then for everything to keep going they must somehow inculcate females to code and eliminate the need for all (other) males entirely.
  • Wow, just wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qrwe ( 625937 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:23AM (#49960899) Homepage Journal
    Is Slashdot rhetorically asking about an issue that people has been pointing out for years about this matter? For the love of Pete: YES – toys "geared at girls" is stereotyping at its finest! Loads of toys (not even mentioning professional tools) is not focused on gender whatsoever. Stop painting them in pink, both symbolically and literally speaking! It helps no one, especially not girls in the end.
    • Re:Wow, just wow... (Score:4, Informative)

      by William Baric ( 256345 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:32AM (#49960943)

      Stereotypes exists because they reflect natural gender differences. Yes, boys and girls are different. All research show this.

      • Stereotypes exists because they reflect natural gender differences. Yes, boys and girls are different. All research show this.

        "Research" means nothing to the folks, who confuse the Universe that is with the Universe that should be. And, unlike the former, the latter is malleable and subject to change without notice.

        Remember the denunciations — both passionately angry [slate.com] and "scientific" [livescience.com] — of people, who suggested, "homosexuality is a choice", for example? We were repeatedly told both in print [time.com] and

        • Sexuality, you see, is a "social construct" now (and since 2004!)

          I take it from your scare quotes that you strongly disagree. Perhaps you should read about some socially different societies, such as ancient Greece. The whole rather rigid spilt between "gay" and "straight" is a rather modern invention. In other words a social construct. Sure, men were expected to get a wife in order to produce a son, but that had little bearing on what they stuck their dick in for fun.

          They didn't have a term for gay or strai

    • Re:Wow, just wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:44AM (#49961017) Homepage Journal

      In reading the two articles, a good part of the problems seems to be twofold. One is the marketing folks discovered that if they created gender specific toys, sales increased. It seems pretty clear that if you want to make more money, you tune your product to your target audience. If creating pink stuff gets you more sales then make more pink stuff seems pretty obvious. The second of course are the folks who see this pink (or blue) stuff and buy it for their girls. But are parents partly to blame? Is marketing part of the issue where girls see the pink stuff advertised on TV and go for it when they hit the stores? Weren't the 80's a transition from wacky cartoons to toy marketing specific cartoons? Is the transition from a single earner family to a dual earner family (and latchkey kids being babysat by TV) part of the problem?

      [John]

      • But are parents partly to blame?

        Of course they are. It's their job to raise their kids properly and not jump on every stupid bandwagon that society (and especially marketers) comes up with.

    • So girls should be interested in programming and other STEM-stuff, but luring them into this field with some pink-colored IDE (or whatever) is ALSO wrong?

      So what would be the practical way to get girls interested in STEM-Toys that are geared at boys? It's "Superprincess Barbie" that stamps all those stereotypes onto girls. You can't blame "gendered" science-toys to pick them up in the pink hell where they have already landed.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:13AM (#49961179)

      Maybe we should create a special girls-only class to teach girls about how to live in a world where they won't receive special treatment.

    • "YES â" toys "geared at girls" is stereotyping at its finest!"

      And I doubt even that claim. Last I looked at it, toy industry is not specifically defended or promoted by government which means that toys, everyone of them, are geared at making money for the producer and that's all. Toy makers produce toys that they expect to sell better than others. If there's any kind of stereotyping it is not on the side of the toy maker but on the side of the toy buyer.

      "Stop painting them in pink"

      Paint whichever co

      • Toy makers produce toys that they expect to sell better than others. If there's any kind of stereotyping it is not on the side of the toy maker but on the side of the toy buyer.

        So, you don't consider it stereotyping for the toy manufacturers to think that pink toys will sell better to girls?

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:47AM (#49961421)

          I think the point is that it's irrelevant. Stereotypes often have a certain amount of truth to them. If this one does as well, it makes the manufacturers money, and that's all they care about. If you want that to stop, change the stereotype.

        • So, you don't consider it stereotyping for the toy manufacturers to think that pink toys will sell better to girls?

          A casual google search did not reveal gender color affinity studies, probably because someone somewhere would rather sell them to me. How much of pink-stuff-for-girls is nature, and how much is nuture? Certainly there are boys who like pink. When I was young, I liked red. Now I like blue. Where are the statistics?

        • "So, you don't consider it stereotyping for the toy manufacturers to think that pink toys will sell better to girls?"

          It's only stereotyping if they are wrong. If they in fact sell better that way, it's just business-as-usual.

        • by invid ( 163714 )
          Let's look at Lego. If Lego sold as many sets to girls as they sell to boys they would earn billions more than they do now. So they try hard to sell to girls. They show girls in advertisements playing with traditionally boy's sets. They make pink sets with flowers and ponies. They try and try and try and try to get girls into Legos. Yet the number of girls who play with Legos is consistently much smaller than boys. Lego isn't actively trying to prevent girls from liking their product. Capitalism beats out s
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      Or, keep using some pink, but stop the stereotype that it's only for girls. Most boys are fine with pink until told that it's wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ultimately, girls (who will become women) are going to have to learn and work in a world where genders are not segregated; as will men

    No.. if feminists have anything to do with it, girls\women will perpetually be recruited and promoted to fulfill diversity quotas and satisfy PR, and the majority of the work will have to be done by men. Capable women would leave the field over 1-2 generations, since, due to feminism, companies are forced to recruit incapable women alongwith capable ones, leading to the entire gender being stereotyped and written off as present and promoted only due to quotas\diveristy\PR

  • by tomxor ( 2379126 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:32AM (#49960941)
    :P thanks for that clarification i just couldn't make the connection before.
  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:35AM (#49960961) Journal
    So why bother trying? You don't make engineering toys for girls, they complain about them not existing; you make them for girls, they complain about them being stereotypical.
    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      you're conflating two different schools of thought in order to impugn the entire movement.

      Line of reasoning A is: why do they have to be "for girls"? just make engineering toys.
      Line of reasoning B is: to overcome the initial resistance (social inertia) caused by stereotypes, some toys can exploit those stereotypes in order to get girls interested, and eventually eliminate them (the stereotypes).

      Neither line of thought is wholly wrong.

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:35AM (#49960965)

    Someone doesn't know very much about child development. Specifically, those cooties that girls see crawling all over boys weren't invented by the patriarchy to keep women down.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      How in the hell is this voted Offtopic when I'm commenting directly on the story summary?

      (Well, sure I know why: a SJW can't handle the truth.)

      • How in the hell is this voted Offtopic when I'm commenting directly on the story summary?

        Don't complain about mods, take the good with the bad. I get modded down all the time. It happens, particularly if you make a politically incorrect statements on a left-leaning site like Slashdot.

        • by Nutria ( 679911 )

          a left-leaning site like Slashdot.

          I don't read comments -- or post -- as much as I used to, but /. used to have a significant population of conservative-libertarian readers.

          Has that changed?

  • Moral Panic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quintessencesluglord ( 652360 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:35AM (#49960967)

    This assumes that most of these girl specific initiatives intend to actually help girls. They aren't, and instead serve as flashpoints to draw money to charlatans, much like any of the "think of the children" campaigns from the last few decades.

    I swear the similarities between modern feminism and the Satanism scare of the 80s are becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

    And the conclusion is correct- most of the women coders I know were, in part, goaded into familiarity by playing with their brothers.

    • Re:Moral Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:09AM (#49961153)

      I swear the similarities between modern feminism and the Satanism scare of the 80s are becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

      I've noticed this but not sure what kicked it off. I remember feminism in the 70's and early 80's, then it all seemed to go away. Then some time about 5 years ago it came back with a vengeance. Every day is some man hate article in the local rag, and there's never any counter argument exposing the holes in the logic (ie women on average earn less, because women on average choose lower paying careers AND take more time off, not because they are paid less for identical jobs).
      Women get raped, but so do men. Women get breast cancer, but more men die from prostate cancer. Pornography is anti-women, even gay porn etc...

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The 80s and 90s were high points for women in software engineering, at both university and in the workplace. Around 2000 the numbers really started to nose-dive, which is why the issue has come back up again. Once the current issues are dealt with you will hear less about it.

        • The 80s and 90s were high points for women in software engineering, at both university and in the workplace. Around 2000 the numbers really started to nose-dive,

          It's a lot more than that. The 80s and 90s were high points for all of (western) society. Around 2000, society took a nose dive and everything is going to utter shit. I wish all the time I could go back in time and live in the 80s and 90s again.

      • Re:Moral Panic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jcr ( 53032 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [rcj]> on Monday June 22, 2015 @09:39AM (#49961825) Journal

        What happened to the feminist movement is typical for successful reform movements. Once they achieved their reasonable goals (equality before the law), the reasonable people in the movement went on to pursue other goals, leaving the dregs behind. That's why feminism today is lousy with witch-hunting and guilt-peddling.

        Two other examples are the civil rights movement (it used to be MLK calling for an end to Jim Crow, today it's Jesse Jackson shaking down large corporations for not meeting racial hiring quotas), and the labor movement (used to be concerned with workplace safety and humane working conditions, now it's just a way for looters to take money from workers to buy hookers and blow for politicians and mobsters.)

        -jcr

  • by dirk ( 87083 ) <dirk@one.net> on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:36AM (#49960973) Homepage

    I can definitely see where this could become a problem. A lot of the "girl" toys are playing directly into the gender stereotypes to get girls interested. If you want girls to like it, make it pink and put flowers on it. Instead of working to actually make it something that would actually interest girls (or god forbid both boys and girls) they just slap some paint on it and give it a girly name.

    The bigger issue though is that they have to make "girl" things because most of them are specifically geared towards boys. That is why the answer they come up with is to make it girly. There is no reason we need special Legos in a pink box with cats and houses specifically for girls. Just stop specifically targeting boys with your marketing and girls will want to play with it (see the ads from the 70s that have both genders in the ads). More stereotypes are not the answer to the current stereotypes.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Spot on. It's just ham-fisted attempts by idiot marketing divisions who think that this is the way to address this issue and make themselves look progressive.

      It's a real shame about Lego. They used to be so good at this, but for decades now have been producing horribly stereotyped kits. I think part of the problem is that they realized that a sort of arms race started with extremely masculine toys aimed at boys, and Lego bought into it, but that meant that many of their lines became unappealing to girls. We

    • Re:A mixed bag (Score:5, Interesting)

      by microTodd ( 240390 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:50AM (#49961443) Homepage Journal

      Well, here's my anecdote with a sample size of n=2. I have a son and a daughter.

      When I bought my very first LEGO set for them, it was a generic box of plain shapes. Something like this [amazon.com].

      My son played with them. My daughter didn't. So I bought this [amazon.com] and mixed the pieces in. The "draw" of the cutesy pieces drew my daughter in. Now she plays with all the pieces.

      So...yeah. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't think they just "color it pink". Probably a bunch of focus testing and playtesting occurs so they know what draws girls to the toys.

      Now, a related question...why did pink and cats draw her in? Is it innate? Or is it something she was taught by society? To that question, I have no answer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Now, a related question...why did pink and cats draw her in? Is it innate? Or is it something she was taught by society? To that question, I have no answer.

        That's an easy one. It's not innate. 100 years ago pink was a boy's colour, similar to red. Girls preferred blue, a soft and pale colour. In the 1920s it flipped around.

        The reason your daughter needed pink bricks to become interested is because she has been bombarded by images and advertising telling her that pink is a girl's colour, and girls should seek out pink toys. What we need is for advertisers to go back to showing girls playing with non-pink stuff, like Lego did before about 1985. Maybe you should

        • What we need is for advertisers to go back to showing girls playing with non-pink stuff, like Lego did before about 1985.

          LEGO did that for more than 40 years and it did them no good at all.

          LEGO's gender-inclusive advertising was worthless because the product didn't appeal to girls no matter how hard they tried to artificially interest girls. Boys like primary colors. Girls like pastels. Boys play with vehicles as readily as they play with characters. Girls play with characters and creatures almost exclusively, and ignore vehicles. Boys play with the outside of structures (think attack on the castle). Girls play with the

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:36AM (#49960975)
    Why make science and engineering toys girly? Because of the parents who wouldn't buy a non-gendered toy. Girls enjoy fishing newts out of a pond, making towers and knocking them down. etc. as much as boys, but many parents discourage this. Enjoying these things at 3 to 4 years is a good foundation for enjoying construction and understanding stability, or examining echo systems when they are older.
    • by tsstahl ( 812393 )

      Pfft!

      I tried to mold my daughter into a 'tomboy'. I taught her to shoot a rifle; now she wants a pink one of her own. I even gave here two older brothers to really ramp up the pressure.

      I'm in tech, her oldest brother is going to be a Chem E soon, and the middle guy tears apart anything with an engine.

      Despite all that she is unabashedly, unapologetically a girly girl. My daughter wants to be a veterinarian and you can't get much more feminine than kittens and puppys.

      It's like she was programmed before bir

  • STEM fields are unfair towards women, we want special treatment!
    Oh, we're getting special treatment now? That's unfair towards women!
  • The way that I read this is that their are boy toys and girl toys and must make the girls learn to play with boys toys, because that is the real world, but we can't make the boys play with girl,toys.

    That is really wrong because we should be tracing 'girl' skills. Learning and hacking cooking, for instance, teaching important skills. Learning to sew is much better at teaching hand eye coordination than video games. It is easier to teach if you pander to the boys, but doing so does not make one a good stem

  • Why not nursing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RuffMasterD ( 3398975 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @07:46AM (#49961039)
    You could equally ask why men aren't flocking to careers in nursing, early childhood care, or beauty therapy. I suspect it has less to do with discrimination, and more to do with men just don't give a shit about those careers. Be it money, status, working conditions, whatever. Men don't want it. Same probably goes for women in technology, construction, and trades. I don't even care if there is a gender imbalance in nursing, early childhood care, or beauty therapy. I don't know any women who care either. But if I did care, I might find that balancing the male side of the equation in female dominated careers already half solves the female side if things in male dominated careers. Men are welcome to join female dominated careers, if they want. Women are welcome to join male dominated careers, if they want. If people don't want, then they don't want.
    • Re:Why not nursing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @08:01AM (#49961115)
      I have daughters. I work in IT. I have tried all sorts of shit to get them into it and give them an unfair advantage in life but there's precisely zero interest in it whatsoever. All they want to do is gymnastics and dancing, they love that stuff and spend every waking hour doing it. One day they will grow up and probably have average jobs earning mediocre wages while my mate's son, who absolutely loves anything technical and is years ahead of every other kid his age, is earning huge dollars in some technology field. In 15 years some feminist somewhere will compare their wages and blame misogynist men for all of that.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You could equally ask why men aren't flocking to careers in nursing, early childhood care, or beauty therapy. I suspect it has less to do with discrimination

      Hold on, who said anything about discrimination? Where on earth did that come from?

      This is about stereotyping of toys. It affects both genders. I'd suggest that one of the reasons we see fewer male nurses is because boys are also stereotyped from a very young age. It's actually a huge problem, especially in early child care and primary teaching where young boys need male role models, and quite a lot of money is being pumped into fixing it with things like scholarships and men only taster courses.

      The idea th

  • OK, now I actually read the article... basically, the article is right in a way it identifies the root problem: The segregation of all toys into boys and girls. Including the idea behind it: Creating less reusable toys. But then, the article failed to notice that this has nothing to do with STEM toys or not. In fact, it is one of three possible solutions:

    1. Force toy industry to retreat and have a gender-neutral toy section again, which then could include stem/educational toys
    2. Bring stem/educational toys

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      It's probably because the field of glasswork is not inherently known to the public to be a particularly masculine nor feminine trade. When you tell people about it, I bet nobody has ever said "Isn't that something girls do?" The thing keeping a lot of women from STEM fields is not necessarily the environment within those fields, but let's face it, little girls are dressed in pink and given dolls from the moment they are born and are often ostracized if they want to play with traditionally male toys. Same
  • That's what I've been saying since the beginning of this whole mess. I firmly believe that any women should have the right to enter the STEM field if she so chooses, just as I believe that any man should have the right to become a fashion model or a ballerina if he so chooses. If we treat both boys and girls with respect and allow them to become whatever they chose, that will do far more for "inequality" than giving preferential treatment to one or special toys for one will ever accomplish.

    However, this

    • by dskoll ( 99328 )

      I firmly believe that any women should have the right to enter the STEM field if she so chooses, just as I believe that any man should have the right to become a fashion model or a ballerina if he so chooses.

      This. Thank you! That expresses it perfectly.

  • Absolutely girls and boys are different. They definitely play differently and prefer different toys.

    But that doesn't mean that every girl is into pink frilly stuff, building blocks that make a kitchen, dolls, makeup, etc. And not every boy is into muscle cars, soldiers, violent games or spaceships.

    Unfortunately, manufacturers rigidly enforce the stereotypes. I was out with my daughter one time at a department store and we were in the kids' clothes section. They might as well have put up a fence wher

  • I don't think people understand how complicated the matter of gender stereotypes are as far as roles in our society. This begins as early as birth. Parents immediately give their child a pink or a blue cap depending on whether or not it's a boy or a girl. While the child is too young to understand this, they will look back on that picture and understand later in life. The point that is more important is that because how we treat each gender in society and until we learn to break ourselves of this, we wi

  • I think we've got girls caught up pretty well; it's time to teach boys how to work with girls as equals. We can start by teaching them that being called a girl isn't a vile insult. Help them break free of their gender stereotypes just as feminism has helped women break free of theirs.

  • I've always understood that getting anyone, boys or girls, into STEM fields has been a long-standing problem. I imagine even if you had just as many female engineers as male, there would still be a shortage with subsequent demand for more. So while it's all well and good if you want to target girls specifically (and maybe they do need to be targeted differently), doing that in lieu of trying to solve the larger problem just seems like willful ignorance at best.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @09:20AM (#49961659)

    ... reinforces gender sterotypes.

    The means are the ends. If you want people to not take gender seriously and just treat each other as equals then you need to not take gender seriously and treat each other as equals.

    If you take gender seriously and treat the genders unequally then you'll create a system were people take gender really seriously and treat the genders differently.

    Be the change by being the end. By matching your means to your end, you create your goal.

    The current idea is increasing gender tensions and racial tensions. IT is not creating equality because it is trying to create racial and sexual quotas.

    You're not going to get an equal society by creating quotas or pseudo quotas.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [rcj]> on Monday June 22, 2015 @09:30AM (#49961741) Journal

    Toy manufacturers, like any other business, take their best guess as to what they can sell. If they're right, they make money. If they're wrong, they don't. This doesn't need to be debated or agonized over.

    If you don't like something, don't buy it.

    -jcr

  • by xdor ( 1218206 ) on Monday June 22, 2015 @05:18PM (#49965495)

    I finally realized what all this pressure for female coders is about!

    The powers that be want to be able to eliminate all their male competition: (e.g. like schools of fish or Dr. Strangelove [imdb.com]). Since the technocracy is rising, they can soon rely on robots for all the heavy lifting -- their only problem remaining is the maintaince and programming of the robots and systems they don't want to be bothered with -- so they still need some annoying technical people around. At the moment they're mostly male. :( Not good if you're trying to be the last man on earth!

    Conclusion: if the goal is for the males that are now in power (or their great-grandsons who will be in power) to be the only males on the face of the planet: then for everything to keep going they must somehow inculcate females to code and eliminate the need for all (other) males entirely.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

Working...