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The GoldieBlox toy

Well, this is interesting timing. I’m currently at the Harvey Nash CIO event in downtown Seattle where panelists are discussing the role of women in technology. All of the panelists — Darren Austin of Glympse; Kate Matsudaira of Decide; and Scott Sikora of WhitePages — agree that more needs to be done to get younger women engaged with engineering and technology.

Now, here comes a possible solution to the nagging problem. Debbie Sterling, a Stanford engineer who used to live in Seattle with her husband Beau, a former project manager at Zillow, has come up with the GoldieBlox.

What’s the GoldieBlox? It’s a toy designed for 5 to 9 year-old girls, which encourages them to embrace engineering. Here’s Sterling’s explanation from the Kickstarter campaign, which started today.

“When I was a little girl, I thought the word, “engineering” was nerdy and intimidating and just for boys. I’ve since learned I was so wrong. Engineers build all the important things we use every day…things that make our lives better. The scary truth is that only 11% of engineers are women and girls start losing interest in science as young as age 8!  This is our chance to change that statistic.

I’m creating GoldieBlox to inspire girls the way Legos and Erector sets have inspired boys, for over 100 years, to develop an early interest and skill set in engineering. It’s time to motivate our girls to help build our future.”

Here’s a look at the Kickstarter campaign, which is starting to take off as we speak. Launched today, the campaign has already attracted more than 500 backers who’ve contributed nearly $35,000. (A recent story in TechCrunch probably is helping matters this evening).

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