Building Blocks of Opportunity | USPTO
Megan Miller: How do you think the toy industry has changed since you created GoldieBlox?
Debbie sterling: The toy industry has changed a lot since I started GoldieBlox. And I think GoldieBlox played a part in that change, which I’m really proud of. Before starting GoldieBlox, there was this deeply rooted stereotype in the toy industry that the build was a boy play model, and the princess was a girl play model, and that the pink aisle is for them. girls and the blue aisle is for boys.
When GoldieBlox launched, we just put out a megaphone, just saying, “No, that’s wrong. And girls deserve more than princesses, and girls can build too.” And this post has gone viral.
And very quickly, the dominoes started to fall. And Target has removed its gender labeling from its toy aisle. And Mattel started getting Barbie to be a computer scientist and Barbie to do STEM. The makers of Bratz dolls, who were some of the most controversial dolls for girls, made their line of STEM dolls.
And so I think with the success of GoldieBlox, it was kind of a wake-up call for the toy industry that times have changed, and that they have to catch up with the expectations of parents today, which is like, i want my daughter to have all the benefits that our sons have had. And so now I think there have been a lot of changes which is good but there is still a long way to go.
There are still a lot of the same stereotypes that were successful in the past that made a lot of these toy media companies big money. And so they keep washing, rinsing, and repeating some of the same formulas that can adversely affect children. And it is still the majority of popular media and toys that children consume. And so GoldieBlox is more the exception than the norm today.
But I think things are slowly starting to change and go in the right direction because parents demand it and kids are smart. And kids are naturally curious and enthusiastic, and want to learn new things and don’t want to be put in a box. And so I think things are definitely going in the right direction, but there is still some way to go.
Megan Miller: Beyond the toy industry, what is your vision for future generations of female engineers? Where do you think we should be aiming?
Debbie sterling: In the old days, most doctors were men, and there were hardly any women doctors, and they were the minority. But over time it became more normal and accepted in our culture when we were given more opportunities, and lo and behold, today you will see a kind of equal distribution of male and female doctors. Law?
I think the same will happen with engineering. You don’t call doctors a woman doctor, a man doctor. He’s just a doctor. And I think it will be the same with engineers. And it’s strange to say, like a female engineer versus a male engineer. And I would love to be in a place where engineering is a really great, exciting job that I could possibly have when I grow up, and there is no stereotype from a young age that this would be a work that would be done by a male or a female.
And when that happens and you have more women in engineering, they’re not in a male dominated field. It’s just a diverse field with a lot of different people and different perspectives, all working together to solve problems. So, they don’t deal with all the things that I had to struggle with and that many generations before me had to struggle with.