For awhile now, we’ve been hearing a lot about how girls should have the opportunity and be encouraged to play with blocks, science kits, and other traditionally “boy” toys. The world needs more women scientists and mathematicians, and the way to get there begins with play. That focus seems to be paying off, as more girls are attending university than boys and women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics were 49.83% of the work force in the United States in September 2009. At the same time, I don’t think anyone is actively encouraging boys to play with dolls, toy kitchens, or any other toys that teach nurturance and foster imagination, traditionally “girl” toys. If everyone is exclusively focused on careers, who is going to focus on children and family?
Play really is the foundation of a child’s future, and if children aren’t given a wide variety of choices, they may not find their right path. Additionally, as much as we want our girls to succeed in the sciences, don’t we want to encourage our boys to be caring men and good husbands and fathers. I think it is great all that we do to encourage girls, but I worry that we might be selling our boys short. Doesn’t true gender equality come when all of our children are given the same opportunities in play, in education, and beyond.-Katie