The LEGO Group marked International Day of the Girl on October 11th with a new campaign to encourage girls to stay curious about STEAM subjects and careers. New and sobering statistics from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the LEGO Group show girls are still discouraged from STEAM fields from a young age when play is often gender stereotyped.
For example, one statistic in the “Geena Davis Institute LEGO Creativity Study” shows 80 percent of boys are encouraged to code at a young age, compared with only 20 percent of girls. Furthermore, when asked, children as young as six think girls don’t like science. These misconceptions extend into the teen years and adulthood and contribute to the gender gap within STEAM related careers.
To help combat these misconceptions, the LEGO Group is launching an online campaign called ‘Let’s Keep them Curious!’ that includes five STEAM play activities which aim to inspire parents to continue to nurture girls’ interests in STEAM by exploring fun LEGO brick challenges.
“We know that girls and women excel in STEAM when they set their minds to it. Today half of the participants of the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition are girls. But they are still under-represented in STEAM careers because from a young age they can be encouraged to explore other interests. We want to change that mindset for future generations – so the world can benefit from having more girls in STEAM.” said Carolina Teixeira, global brand marketing director, purpose and inclusion, the LEGO Group.
The LEGO Play Well Study 2022 found that most parents believe their child, regardless of gender, can do any job they want (88 percent), but that there is a self-perpetuating cycle within STEAM play. Because mothers are less likely to have been encouraged to follow a career in STEM than fathers (54 vs 69 percent) they consequently become less likely to encourage their own children to work in STEM (69 vs 78 percent).
“Closing the gender gap within STEAM careers starts with closing the gender gap within STEAM play. The LEGO Foundation believes that all children have the right to learn and play - as a vehicle to unleash creative potential and build vital skills - essential for the future workforce.” outlines Ida Thyregod, Team Leader for Strategic Partnerships at the LEGO Foundation.
Beyond STEAM activities, the LEGO Group is also committed to unlocking girls’ access to education opportunities by donating $120,000 to the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, in support of their efforts to help adolescent girls and the grassroots leaders working to educate them.
“We are thrilled that the LEGO Group has joined our alliance of partners who are united in our efforts to ensure all girls are empowered with the resources they need to achieve their dreams,” said Tiffany Drake, vice president and executive director of the Girls Opportunity Alliance. “We know that when you educate girls, our entire world benefits.”