Do Gender-Based Toys Keep Girls Out of STEM?

Some Michigan lawmakers want fast food restaurants to stop giving gender-based toys.
Photo credit: Brian Charles Watson (CC-By-SA 3.0)

This is a little outside the purview of what I typically write, but I wanted to address an article I read today that is education-related. 

As you all know with the shift to workforce development with its hyper-emphasize on STEM there is a push to direct more toward STEM fields. In my home state of Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds had headed an initiative to expose more girls to STEM. 

I’m not a fan of the over-emphasis on STEM or the shift to workforce development, but don’t have a problem with engaging girls to think about STEM careers. The issue for me is how it has replaced classical education for all students.

That said, this push for girls in STEM took a ludicrous turn when Michigan lawmakers used this as an excuse in a move to encourage fast food chains to stop providing gender-based toys.

From Fox News:

Receiving a free children’s toy at Michigan fast-food joints may soon require restaurants to ask the kids which ones they’d prefer, at least if lawmakers successfully go through with a petition to stop “gender classification” of kids’ meal toys at fast-food franchisees.

Earlier this week, the state House of Representatives introduced a motion requesting that chains stop offering “boy toys” and “girl toys” on the grounds that such classifications “limit children’s imagination,” going so far as to argue that such restrictions can prevent young girls from taking an interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, KWCH reports.

Instead, the lawmakers want children to be offered a “choice” of toy without traditional gender labels.

I could comment further on the non-education implications of this legislation, but that wouldn’t be appropriate here. For now, they are pushing a resolution encouraging fast food chains to act on their own volition. Could it be forced later on? I would not be surprised. 

Out of all of the problems Michigan faces this is what some lawmakers want to spend their time on?

Frankly, if a fast food chain wants to stop giving toys like this away I could not care less (in fact I thought most already did, but my kids are way past the Happy Meal age so I don’t know for certain). Using STEM as an excuse is nonsense. There are a variety of reasons more boys pursue STEM careers than girls, but I doubt fast food toys are high up on the list.

3 thoughts on “Do Gender-Based Toys Keep Girls Out of STEM?

  1. STEM should be a problem for every American. It’s a direct education assualt from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In the SDG Tool kit girls are targeted for STEM to get them into the workforce. The ultimate goal? Everyone will need to work for the collectivism in the SDGs. Women will be so busy, there will be no time for babies. Hence, population control. What babies do make it, the government will raise. This sounds like a conspiracy, right? Every it of this is truth. Ugly facts.
    No true American leader should embrace STEM or STEAM. To do so is treason.

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