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A Comparative Study on Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM Toys (Fundamental)

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Huma Shoaib Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Huma Shoaib is a graduate student working jointly between Engineering Education and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. Her research focus is computational thinking, and understanding computational and engineering identity development in undergraduate students to overcome issues related to women persistence in undergraduate engineering programs.

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Monica E Cardella Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is a Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

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Children have opportunities to learn about engineering in a variety of settings: in classrooms, through afterschool or summer programming, or through exhibits at science museums. Children can also learn about engineering through interactions with family members or family friends who work as engineers, through television shows, or through books, toys, and games. In an earlier study, we investigated toy-buying patterns and found that adults purchase engineering-related toys more frequently for boys than for girls. We believe that this disparity may be one factor contributing to the underrepresentation of women in engineering as the engineering-related toys can promote interest in engineering and the development of engineering knowledge and skills. In this study, we replicate the previous approach to investigate whether there have been changes in toy-buying patterns over the past five years since the original study was conducted. We follow a similar approach as in the original study: we code online reviews for information about who the toy was purchased for (i.e. a boy, girl, or unknown) and who was purchasing the toy (parent, grandparent, other relatives, other, or unknown). We anticipate that we may see some changes from our original findings as a greater number of engineering toys that specifically target girls (e.g. Goldiblox, Roominate) have emerged.

Shoaib, H., & Cardella, M. E. (2020, June), A Comparative Study on Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM Toys (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33984

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