Will the new ‘Engineering Barbie’ encourage young girls to enter into the engineering sector?

Girl Student getting education for construction industry.

At the beginning of the year we published our blog Women in Engineering which focused on a lack of women in the engineering sector. The blog mentioned one of the main causes of this issue being the gender stereotypes which are forced onto children… that only girls can play with dolls and kitchens whereas boys play with tools and cars.

It’s no secret that in the past Barbie has always found a way to cause outrage with the apparent stereotyping and sexism. And it looks like this year will be no different thanks to the new ‘engineering Barbie’ designed by toy firm Thames and Kosmos.

There was so much potential for this doll to have a positive impact and encourage young girls to become interested in engineering, yet it disappoints by appearing to reinforced unhelpful stereotypes. The new Barbie doll which encourages girls to become engineers by building washing machines and racks for their shoes and jewellery.

It could be argued that progress is being made (and in some way it is) with large companies starting to develop toys that encourage more young girls to take an interest in engineering. But is this enough to tackle the issue of there being a lack of women in the UK engineering sector?

What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts about this topic by tweeting us at @Seriouseng or commenting on our Facebook post.

More information about this story can be found on online article Why ‘engineering Barbie’s’ pink washing machine defeats the point from the Guardian.