I’m so pleased to read about the Lego Nasa models literally flying off the shelves. As a mother of three boys our house is crammed with Lego, Ninjagos, Superheroes, Star Wars not to mention the more elaborate results when creativity really kicks in. Working with organisations to build stronger pipelines to retain and recruit diverse talent we often focus on graduate recruitment, the drop off amongst women at middle management, working to build strong cultures with inclusive leadership at its core.
I’m increasingly struck by how we are trying to fix rather than avoid the problem in the first place when dealing with the lack of women in the workplace.
A recent study published in American Scientific in September showed children as young as 6 years old subconsciously make decisions about careers based on their gender and the role models around them. Why should we be worried? Because it shows all the work targeting 11year olds to consider STEM subjects and possible career paths come in that bit too late. Our fantastically talented kids have already deeply embedded views on what they want / should do when they grow up.
Ellen Stefan former Chief Scientist at Nasa was very clear about the impact of female role models on her between the ages of 4 and 11, from her mother to Mary Leakey and Jane Goodall. Although her father (a Nasa engineer) was a key figure she didn’t decide to become a space scientist until the age of 14, the role models had allowed her to keep options open and consider bringing new thinking into a brilliant career path.
We need more inspired thinking like Lego, to show boys and girls their career choices are not set in stone before they’ve even made it to secondary school. And yes that Lego Space set is on the top of my wishlist!