In an idea that is on the order of “about time”, Mattel introduced Computer Engineer Barbie on the 12th of February 2010. Let us hope that this helps solve part of the problem with women and girls going into Computer Science. The problem is solvable, it will just take the concerted efforts of parents and education along with cultural reforms within Computer Science to attract more people into a career field that needs more people in it.
It is well known through the CRA report that women graduating from Computer Science degree programs has been steadily declining. According to the latest CRA Taulbee Survey, women in Computer Science are only some 12% of all degrees in CS being granted. This is down from 18% in 1993/1994. What is interesting is that during the same time Science and Engineering degrees for women have been increasing during the same time from 46% to 51% in 2004/2005. This is why Computer Engineer Barbie is so very important, and Mattel has done an excellent job in bringing in a new Barbie Doll for this. Parents need to go purchase one of them for their daughters and let them play.
It would be wonderful to see Computer Hacker Barbie along the way, but that might come later on down the road. This is also Barbie’s 128th Career choice in her long lifetime as a doll that has had an influence on the many things that women can do and the approaches that they can take to life and career. In all it is through the toys that children play with that they help set the expectations that they will have for life in general. While we can talk about gender specific toys, the addition of Computer Engineer Barbie adds another dimension to what women can do as a career choice. Although the Bat Girl Barbie also looks like a great toy to have around the house as well. Some of the smartest people I have met in Computer Science are women, and Computer Engineer Barbie is on the order of “about time”.
Time to run down to the local toy store and pick one up, failing that – put one on order at Amazon. Readers might also want to check out joining or supporting Women in Tech. This is one of the best groups that is gender focused on developing and supporting women in technology and computer science.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Barbie the Computer Engineer (neatorama.com)
- Barbie’s Next Career? Computer Engineer (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Computer Engineer Barbie Has a PhD In FUN (And Breaking Down Stereotypes) [Barbie] (gizmodo.com)
- Introducing Computer Engineer Barbie (geeksaresexy.net)
- Introducing Computer Engineer Barbie (insidehpc.com)
- Binary Barbie: She’s A Computer Engineer (themoderatevoice.com)
- Coders Get a New Colleague – Barbie (gigaom.com)
(Cross-posted @ TechWag )