Is it just about image? Does computer engineering Barbie discourage girls? Really?

 I trawl through a lot of media, blogs and articles, like most of my colleagues, and also get some sent to me because of my known interest in gender and computing. I read this one just today, it was sent to me Monday by a friend. Does Computer Engineering Barbie Discourage Girls From Pursuing Math and Science? GOOD MAGAZINE | JUNE 14, 2012

I have a Computer Engineering Barbie in my office at work (a gift from a colleague). I am not comfortable however giving her to my grand-daughter, and never bought a Barbie for my own daughters. I just never took to her over shapely proportions.

 However I ascribe to the belief that being a computer engineer and loving fashion, shoes, handbags, whatever… are not mutually exclusive, and that  there are many individual differences among  girls that one image portrayed by one doll can hardly be ascribed blame for a lack of interest in a whole career path.

I think we have to get past image – the lack of interest in this discipline, by girls and boys, is more embedded in how we approach teaching it  as well as how we apply it. Liz Dwyer comments in her post that the girls who won the Google engineering award were intellectually curious, tenacious and ambitious – not particularly gendered traits.

With an approach that promotes curiousity, creativity, persisitence and problem solving we may well do better in attracting more girls and a more diverse cohort of boys to our discipline.


June 20, 2012. Gender, ICT, Image.

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