June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.814.1 - 26.814.14
Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM-Related Toys (Fundamental)As we endeavor to promote diverse participation in engineering, and particular promotethe participation of women in engineering, we must consider the many different ways thatchildren can begin developing interests in and understanding of engineering and STEMconcepts. Informal learning environments are one critical area in need of researchattention, as informal learning experiences provide opportunities for learners to developinterests and understandings that are grounded in the learners’ interests, motivations, andself-direction, but also allow the learner to explore an interest in a low-stakes atmosphere(i.e. without the pressures that come with testing).One way that children can begin to develop an interest in and understanding of science,mathematics and engineering is through the toys that they interact with. To investigatewhether there are gender differences in terms of interaction with engineering or otherSTEM-related toys, we visited the websites of three different companies that selleducational toys and analyzed the consumer reviews in order to determine: (1) who ispurchasing the toys (parent, grandparent, etc.) and (2) who the toy is purchased for (ageand gender of the child). The majoring of the product reviews contained enoughinformation for us to answer these questions, and in most cases STEM-related toys (suchas physics kits) were purchased for boys. From our analysis, we conclude that one way topromote the participation of girls in engineering is to educate parents and grandparentsabout the importance of purchasing STEM-related toys for girls.
Inman, J., & Cardella, M. E. (2015, June), Gender Bias in the Purchase of STEM-Related Toys (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24151
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