Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Open Letter to Ellen

Dear Ellen,

I love your show (Omg! Seriously, could you really be reading this?!). I love that you give kids a spotlight to show us that there is a brighter tomorrow. The kids are adorable, talented, and sweet. They are a wonderful part of your show.

But…I have a grievance.

Why are almost all of your kid inventors boys? Why are the “smart” kids you typically feature boys? I’m not saying these boys didn’t deserve the spotlight. They do! They are brilliant and focused and a wonderful example for other kids everywhere. Especially, other boys.

But, what about the girls? There are plenty of talented girls on your show and that’s great! They too are brilliant and adorable. They are also great examples for other kids. But they are mostly in princess dresses, singing, and dancing.

I have two daughters and they love all things princess and we support that. We sing and dance in our living room and we have an abundance of Barbie spilling from the toy boxes. We also push science and creativity. Every Sunday we conduct science experiments with our girls. Some experiments we choose from Steve Spangler and some from Bill Nye. We *try* to teach our girls that they can do anything. No gender limitations specified. But even finding woman scientists with resources for kids is difficult.

Our daughters don’t see very many other girls inventing things or reciting facts about the solar system. Where are the kids during your science segments? Where are the girls?

I don’t blame you (entirely) for this. Overall, girls hold a minority position in patents and research grants; this is a system wide failure. We are all aware that boys are more likely to be drawn to STEM careers whereas girls tend to lean toward careers in humanities (this discrepancy is reflected in your talented kids line-up). There has been a sincere push to change this imbalance lately, but is it enough? 

Are science and engineering toys geared toward girls enough if girls don’t have examples similar to themselves in the media? If there are few girl kid inventors why will girls believe they can do it?

All I ask is for more equal representation. Go out and find the girls! Let the boys have their time to shine too, but let some girls in the club.

Trying to teach my girls to think beyond the pink.

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