Science gifts for boys push girls away from engineering

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Boys are three times as likely to receive science and maths toys for Christmas than girls, according to recent research carried out by the Institute of engineering and Technology (IET).

It reveals that only 11 per cent of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) toys are listed for girls, whereas 31 per cent were listed for boys.

The gap between gendered toys could be helping to steer girls away from jobs in engineering and technology. At present, women account for only nine percent of Britain’s engineers.

“Societal stereotypes driving these gendered listings could be having a knock-on effect for the next generation of engineers, especially girls, impacting their future career choices,” warned the IET.

However, another study by the IET showed that 39 percent of primary school girls admitted to enjoying ICT and computing with 38 percent claiming to enjoy maths and 36 percent, science, but only seven percent of parents said that engineering would appeal to their daughter as a career.

“The research shows girls clearly do have an interest in science, technology and engineering subjects at school so we need to find ways to help this to translate into a higher number of women entering the industry,” said toy engineer and IET spokesperson, Mamta Singhal.

“The toy industry is changing slowly and over the years more gender-neutral toys such as science kits have started appearing. Toys can really influence what a child does in later years, therefore STEM toys are a natural move for the industry.”

 

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