Last week I encountered a TED talk that is presented by Debbie Sterling. First off, the heading of the pitch, which is called “Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers” has charmed me. Being as a woman engineer, this topic is very valuable and significant for me because I know that in today’s world the idea of “Engineering is for boys” is still considering by people. So, let’s talk a little about Debbie’s talk and then I want to ask you that she is changed your mind or not.
Debbie is a civil engineer, entrepreneur and founder of Goldie Blox. I will explain what the Goldie Blox is in the following, but I want to tell Debbie’s mention: “The reason why I started Goldie Blox in the first place was because I am passionate about getting more girls and women into engineering.” In this respect, she started to do something for the little girls to fit in the engineering industry.
When the meaning of engineering is asked to people, most of them don’t know how to explain it. Primarily, engineering means solving and founding the biggest technologies; creating and designing things for people; understanding what people’s need; building anything you dream up in your head. If engineering is that much creative and informative thing, why it is seen as an area for men? When the challenges in the engineering sector are evaluated, engineering is being like a boy’s club and man dominated profession and women don’t fit in there. According to the statistics, women engineers were 11 percent in the US in 2014 and this number is more than doubled since 1980 – from 5% to roughly 13% of employed engineers. It is planning to growth that number to 30% through 2022.
A science test is done in 65 countries where boys and girls are tested and around the world, girls are out-performed the boys but not in the US. The suggestion of the test is it is not a biological thing, it is a cultural thing. Most of the people especially parents do not buy Lego or construction sets to girls because they believe that girl’s culture fits in “toy aisle” which are full of pink and girlish things. But kids who scored better on spatial skill test grew up playing with construction toys. Also, it is observed that little girls get bored with construction because they prefer reading books. After that research, Debbie wanted to find a way to help girls to develop their spatial skills.
Then she had an “aha idea” which is the combination of construction toys and storybook sets. By following the Goldie’s instruction, girls help her to build a belt drive (spinning) machine to spin animals at once with an aim of helping Goldie’s dog.
After finding the idea of Goldie Blox, Debbie attended the platforms, which are Tech Accelerator Program and NY Toy Fair that is the international biggest toy show in the US to sell her idea. In the both places, she just heard the sentence of “Construction toys for girls don’t sell!” from the businessmen.
BUT THE THING IS JUST BECAUSE THIS IS THE WAY THINGS ARE, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S HOW THEY HAVE TO BE!
After that, she put her idea on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $150.000 in 30 days with a minimum production of 5.000 units. Now, be ready to be surprised because she raised $150.000 just in 4 days and raised over $285,000 in 30 days with a production over 20.000 units.
So, what happened next?
After her success, she became in National Retail Foundation as one of 25 “People Shaping Retail’s Future” and also, she got the award of “Living Legacy” from National Women’s History Museum. And the most significant thing is she created the world’s first girl engineer character.
To conclude that TED talk and this successful life story, it is clearly seen that Debbie didn’t give up from achieving her dreams! She has an interesting story and a valuable dream. I am impressed that she took decisive steps in the way she believed. I hope in the light of these powerful women, our world will become more equal, valuable and liveable.
Just be creative and believe in yourself!