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Female Engineers Design Toys for Girls That Aren’t Just Pink

Three engineers at Stanford are developing science toys for girls that will actually inspire young women to go into math and science

Maykah’s first toy, Roominate, comes with real circuits. (Roominate Kickstarter)

Science toys for girls are often, well, terrible. While boys get cool explosions and slime, girls get “Beauty Spa Lab” and “Perfect Perfume Lab.” And everything is always, as a rule, pink. But a team of female engineers are trying to buck that trend. They’re developing toys for girls that will actually inspire young women to go into math and science.

“When we looked around at girls’ toys today, we did not see the kinds of toys that inspired us when we were young,” wrote Alice Brooks, Bettina Chen and Jennifer Kessler wrote at Women 2.0. So the three of them, all graduate students at Stanford, formed a company they call “Maykah.” Their first toy, Roominate, updates the game of playing house: with circuits and custom-built parts, girls won’t just keep house but learn about what goes into building one.

Like many startups these days, Maykah launched a Kickstarter to fund the Roominate project. They hoped for $25,000 and got $85,965. In Silicon Valley, still largely dominated by men, support is widespread.

Parents could start ordering toys last week, although the final price hasn’t been set yet. The Maykah team hopes that their toys will help put a dent in the highly skewed gender ratio found in the engineering world, where only about 25 percent of the tech-force is female.

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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