This year, Girl Geek Scotland worked with Digital Scotland to produce a report to inform, encourage and support school age girls to consider a career in technology and related sectors through a role model and mentoring initiative by Skills Development Scotland.
By Samantha Walravens & Heather Cabot
Think 2017 is your year to finally share that amazing business idea in your head and introduce it to the world? Buckle up. In the words of Sallie Krawcheck, founder and CEO of Ellevest, “Being an entrepreneur is harder than running Merrill Lynch, and I’m not just saying that. I ran Merrill Lynch.” We know starting and running a tech company is not for the faint of heart, but if you are ready to take the plunge this year, here are some key insights from top female founders of early stage ventures who’ve been there done that. We spoke with them at the 2016 Tech Inclusion Conference in San Francisco (Check out the panel here). They dished on everything from finding the right investors to hiring a good team to staying the course in the rough and tumble world of starting a business. Here are the takeaways:
1. “Great business ideas are a dime a dozen. Choose one you’re excited to work on for the next five, ten, twenty years.” – Sarah Kunst, founder and CEO, Proday
According to Proday CEO Sarah Kunst, lots of people have ideas. But how you execute on them is what really matters. When starting out, Kunst recommends following the advice of entrepreneur and author James Altucher and writing down 10 business brainstorms every day. As Altucher says, “Just get in the habit of finding ideas and figuring out if they could be viable and eventually one will stick and you’ll realize you can make money from it and you’ll love it.”
2. “Before you hire a team, build a prototype and make sure there is interest in your product.” – Shanna Tellerman, founder and CEO, Modsy
Entrepreneurs can get wedded to an idea they think will be “the next big thing,” when in fact, nobody else cares about it. The first thing founders need to do is make sure their product has what is called “product market fit.” Simply put, this means you should make things people want. Shanna Tellerman, founder and CEO of Modsy, suggests building a prototype and testing it with customers to confirm that they will use and buy your product. Maci Peterson, founder and CEO of On Second Thought, adds that your business should solve a problem. She should know. She built her messaging recall app after she texted an old boyfriend telling him that she missed his “balls,” when she meant to write “calls.” Oops!
3. “Be careful whose money you take.” – Maci Peterson, founder and CEO, On Second Thought
“Someone recently told me that it’s easier to get a divorce than to fire an investor ,” says Peterson, “so you have to be very cognizant of whose money you’re taking.” She talks about a meeting she had with potential investors where the VC’s directed all of their questions to a male colleague she had just hired. She calls these incidences “great litmus tests” to gauge whom you want to work with, be it investors or colleagues. “When I see behaviors like this, I know you’re not the right business partner for me,” she underlines.
Modsy CEO Tellerman adds, “ Venture capital is a pain. Don’t take it if you don’t need it .” It’s a decision she’s experienced first hand. She has raised $12 million for her current business, Modsy, and successfully sold her first startup, Wild Pockets, to Autodesk. Although it may seem like standard protocol for Silicon Valley startups to raise venture capital, in truth, most businesses do not. Historically, fewer than 1% of U.S. companies have raised capital from VCs.
“To raise venture capital, you need to be working on something that is scalable and has the potential to be a hundreds of million or even billion dollar business,” Tellerman explains. “If you’re not going down that path, don’t bother raising venture capital.” Having a venture capitalist on your board means you have another partner in your business you need to answer to. As a founder, you need to decide whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
4. Find your “tribe.” – Jean Miller Truelson, CEO of Dogpatch Technology, creators of FlowerApp.com
Jean Truelson, CEO of Dogpatch Technology, creators of FlowerApp.com, emphasizes the importance of finding people you respect and want to work with. “I didn’t walk into Silicon Valley with a set of connections or background in tech, but I was able to build those connections through people I already knew. It required a lot of hustling,” she says.
While building connections is critical to succeeding as a tech entrepreneur, Modsy’s Tellerman admits she hates the word “networking” because it sounds superficial and intimidating. She cautions founders to seek out relationships “strategically.” “Network with the people you want to work with, who will lead you to the right investors and people you want to know, ” advises Tellerman. “Most entrepreneurs start with no network, no connections, no experience. You have to build your way up to it, but you usually start with nothing.”
Speakers at the event included Alison McAlroy – Information Security Manager; Chelsea Sievewright – Information, Risk and Security Consultant; Jamie Graves – CEO; and Laura Johnston – Associate Consultant. They all did a brilliant job inspiring the audience to consider a career in cybersecurity and put themselves out there as exceptional role models for attendees to look up to, in the world of cybersecurity.
With over 60 people attending, there was a real buzz in the room, and it was a fantastic opportunity for all attendees to meet new people and increase their network.
Chelsea Sievewright spoke about “the ripple effect” of cyber-attacks and that there is no metric to measure the impact that these attacks have on people and families creating unmeasurable stress and anxiety. Alison McAlroy from Tesco Bank told everyone her inspirational story of how she broke into the sector and secured her present role. She said, “Jump!! And the net will appear.”
Then Jamie Graves shared his experience so far as an entrepreneur, along with the business lessons he has learned as a ‘reformed academic’ in the form of cat pictures which brought some amusement to the audience. Jamie’s quote of the night was, “Luck is where opportunity meets great preparation.” To conclude, Laura Johnston spoke about the Cyber Threat landscape and her journey into cyber from a non-technical background. She left the audience with a thought provoking finish saying, “If you’re the smartest in the room you’re in the wrong room.”
The night culminated in a Q&A with the audience and the speakers, which was very well coordinated by Samantha. She was even put on the spot with some excellent questions from the audience around recruitment in the sector, and how companies can go about attracting more women into their workforce.
Samantha said, “I would just like to thank everyone who attended and helped out with organising the event. I am delighted that the event was such a success, and stay tuned for updates on “Cyber Angels” events we have planned next year.”
At Girl Geek Scotland our aim is to grow a community of professionals and entrepreneurs who are able to support each other at entry-level and throughout their careers in computing, creativity, and enterprise. A big part of this is ensuring that there are role models for everyone to learn from and aspire to.
The skills shortage in Cybersecurity is something that is and continues to be well documented; by 2018 there will be a global shortage of 4.2 million people who work in the sector. And according to (ISC)2’s latest study, only 6% of those working in the sector are women, a drop of 4% after the figure remained unchanged for 2 years at 10%.
Keen to address the lack of role models for women in Cybersecurity, Samantha Leeman from Bright Purple Resourcing, also one of our Event Managers at Girl Geek Scotland, is running an event in Edinburgh on the 22nd September at Codebase on Castle Terrace, 6pm, until 9pm.
We would encourage anyone reading this to join us on the 22nd; if you are currently working in, or interested in learning more about Cybersecurity. The event is FREE and a great opportunity for you to network, learn more about the sector, and of course meet some role models!
Speakers at the event include Alison McAlroy – Information Security Manager – Tesco Bank, Chelsea Sievewright – Information, Risk and Security Consultant – Prudential, Jamie Graves – CEO – ZoneFox, and Laura Johnston – Associate Consultant – PwC.
The world of Cybersecurity has moved from how the media depicts a Cybersecurity expert; typically; a nerdy male sat alone on his laptop in-front of a black screen with green coding.
One of the key skills that employers are looking for is “communication”. Some of the biggest challenges people working in the sector currently face are; communicating with multiple stakeholders; and delivering business objectives whilst ensuring risk management continues to be prioritised.
Studies over the last 30 years have consistently indicated that women are better communicators than men; and these skills are important than ever, as the Cybersecurity sector continues to adapt to changing technologies.
Chelsea Sievewright – Information Risk and Security Consultant at Prudential said, “I’m delighted to be speaking at Girl Geek Scotland’s even on the 22nd of September, it’s great to have the opportunity to pass on my knowledge in a supportive and relaxed environment. Samantha is doing a brilliant job organising this event in Edinburgh, and I’m really looking forward to it. It is a wonderful opportunity to network with other women working in Information Security and also showcase the great talent we have in Scotland. It’s no secret that women are severely underrepresented in the sector and I’m always looking for ways to help promote it to younger women.
Events like these provide a channel for collaborations and new ideas on how we can help bridge the skills gap in the future.”
So come and join Girl Geek Scotland for FREE on the 22nd September at Codebase 6pm – 9pm, you are all welcome. Event link here. (This is event is sold out as of 1 September, but there is an active waiting list so do put your name down and you will be notified if tickets become available).
By Morna Simpson, May 2016:
View article here via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/women-watch-technology-morna-simpson
Engage Invest Exploit 2016
This article showcases a few of the brightest new talents and rising stars in the technology sector in Scotland, who will be pitching at EIE 2016. Informatic Ventures, flagship annual technology investor showcase, Engage Invest Exploit (EIE), connects up to 60 Scottish technology based life sciences, ICT and energy companies with over 200 international investors and has become the largest event of its kind in the UK.
Girl Geek Scotland would like to thank Nano-Lit Technologies Ltd. who have sponsored this article. Please show your support by entering Nano-Lit’s “Selfie & Sunglasses Competition”, and give your self the chance of winning some gorgeous Vira Sun Sunglasses at the same time. Competition details are at the foot of this article.
A big thanks also goes out to all the girls for scheduling in an interview in the hectic run up to the event. They are: Sarah Morgan Founder and CEO of Nano-Lit Technologies Ltd. the next generation in lighting solutions; Suzanne Mitsche CEO of Mindmate, apps to support people suffering from dementia; Sabrina Malpede CEO of Act Blade, lightweight efficient blades to support the energy industry; Rebecca Pick CEO of Pick Protection Ltd., innovative lone worker protection; Kirsty Mitchell CEO & Founder Digital Connextions Ltd.; Jossie Ellis CEO of Levima Ltd., simplifying expense management; Pippa Gardner CEO & Co-founder of Urban Tide, Smart Cities Data Experts; and Leah Hutcheon, CEO of Appointedd, online booking and business management software for SMEs.
Nano-Lit Technologies, nano-lit.com
Everything on earth exists, because of the sun. Sunlight creates life. Yet, electric light has a long way to go, before we can mimic natural, life-giving light.
Nano-Lit is an industrial design led company developing lighting solutions with quantum dots, a nano-technology that enhances the qualities of electric lighting, so that we can have increased control.
At Nano-Lit we want to solve the psychological and physiological impact of light starved environments on humans, while improving energy efficiency and lowering carbon output. We are working with lighting manufacturers to develop Human Centric Lighting applications that retrofit into existing LED fixtures, and control light output so that it optimises users well-being. Our lighting solutions improve the longevity of LEDs, and with enhanced IoT technologies, this leads to a reduction in energy consumption, in some instances up to 70% (research carried out by Osram).
People love the idea of our product, because we all know how much better we feel when the sun is shining… and we all want to help create greener solutions and a healthy planet for the next generation.
You may not have heard of us because we are patent pending, and in the final stages of a SMART grant proof of concept. That hasn’t stopped us from racking up a number of very high profile clients over the past 4 years, who are collaborating with us on our product development. I can’t reveal our clients, but I can tell you that thy are billion dollar companies and that we expect to launch products in the high-end automotive industry as well as confirm global distribution for indoor solutions in the near future.
We are aiming to raise £650K at EIE 2016 to make a manufacturer’s sample, accelerate our route to market, and to map human performance against our IoT light output.
Changing the world starts with changing your immediate environment.
Find out more and make an appointment to see us at EIEmichael@nano-lit.com
MindMate is the fastest-growing platform for people with dementia, their carers and family members. For them, we currently provide three different apps, as we appreciate that every group has their own needs and requirements on an app.
People love our product, because a) we provide them with a holistic platform, and b) because we don’t stigmatise people who live with dementia. We believe that you can and should live fully with dementia and should not worry about common misconceptions.
For MindMate, dementia is just the beginning. We are already seeing that independent living is for many people 65+ a big issues. Our vision is to become the market leader for grey tech in general, with different sub-categories and special services for people with a (long-term) condition, such as dementia, or stroke.
We started with MindMate just one year ago. The journey has been terrific. We progressed tremendously fast, which was also the result of participating in the ignite100 accelertor. At ignite, they forced us to launch MindMate as an MVP, which was the best thing we could do. We now have more than 20,000 monthly active users who help us with their feedback to create the best Alzheimer’s platform on the market. Technology changes very fast. To keep on top of the game, MindMate will even change in 6-12 months dramatically. We are currently building significant relationships around our platform to grant our customers the best user experience on the market.
MindMate will raise a substantial seed-round end of this year/beginning of next year. Raising our pre-seed round showed me already that taking on investment is all about building and leveraging relationships early. Fundraising is a full-time job and distracts from running the business. EIE will help us to move quicker on this front line.
ACT Blade: actblade.com
Wind energy will soon become subsidy-free. To remain competitive, the cost of wind energy must drop! The most powerful way to reduce that cost is to increase energy production by developing larger rotors. The result is that all manufacturers of equipment in this industry are on a mission to develop longer blades.
But with the current technology, this is difficult and very expensive: blades are becoming very heavy, they are very difficult and expensive to transport and the total time to market increases.
ACT Blade is the lightest and most controllable wind turbine blade, using carbon fibre reinforced structures and textile.
Having won an Energy Catalyst award from InnovateUK in 2015, and in collaboration with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and DNV-GL, we have demonstratated that our blade is up to 50% lighter and 30% stronger than a conventional blade. By enabling longer blades, ACT Blade can increase energy production by 10%, reduce the cost of energy by 9% and reduce the OEMs CapEx by 90%.
For the last 12 years, our team has developed and commercialised innovative design solutions, which are now the standard in the Marine Industry. ACT was created using the same technology and know-how we used to develop the fastest boat in the world, the America’s Cup boat.
Over the next three years, our team will design, test and certify a full scale ACT Blade. Commercialization will start in 2019 and by 2023, we aim to gain a market share worth £140m. We are seeking both a financial investment and an industry player interested in supporting our developments.
We hope EIE will help us to find supporters of our ambitious plan. We will deliver the next generation of blades and directly support the development of the wind energy industry, as the sectors takes the final steps to generating subsidy-free and compiting versus fossil fuel.
Pick Protection, pickprotection.com
There are over 6 million lone workers in the UK (like estate agents, cleaners, taxi drivers and many more) and currently only 5% of these lone workers are given any form of protection. This is a legal requirement, and the legislation is becoming increasingly stringent. Pick Protection can help companies to protect their lone and at risk workers.
Pick Protections first product the Personal Guardian is a wearable lone worker alarm. It is a first for the lone working industry, it is a unique combination of alarm hardware and smartphone software. This has allowed us to create the smallest, lightest and most cost effective lone working alarm on the market with an industry leading 12 month battery life.
The Personal Guardian also acts as a personal attack alarm and will be the first monitored alarm on the market, in other words, the only personal alarm that can summon a Police response. The vision is to bring more innovative security solutions to market and become the market leader.
Pick Protection’s key achievements are raising the seed funding we needed to fully develop the Personal Guardian, we’ve had a lot of media coverage (we were featured on Sky News, in the Guardian, the Times and many more) and finally we were the first undergraduate business to ever win a Converge Challenge Award and we won the Santander Universities competition, for Best Undergraduate Business in the UK.
In three years time I see myself driving the international expansion of Pick Protection. At that point I believe we will have launched a second product and raised a series A investment giving us a platform to further expand the business.
Pick Protection is asking for £350,000 firstly to increase our team and drive sales but also to begin development of a second product. We are also asking for contacts in companies with lone workers. Both of these asks will help to grow the business and we believe EIE is a fantastic platform to tell people all about what we are working on!
Digital Connextions Ltd., digitalconnextions.com
Our data analytics platform called Hiryzr, helps young people identify valuable skills and strengths that they often don’t know or think they have. It’s dynamic data visualisation tools quickly discover and close skill gaps to reveal available and relevant career and educational opportunities.
Hiryzr is mobile responsive, it’s perfect for young people who run their lives on smartphones and mobile devices. Our unique anonymous peer rating system encourages young people to feel valued and gives them the confidence to recognise their full potential. It provides a step up onto the employment ladder by making excellent available and accessible job matches.
We will change the world by helping the 1 million young people here in the UK and the 70 million young people globally who aren’t in education, employment or training, find relevant and desirable education and career opportunities. In doing so we will help employers throughout the world find a skilled workforce faster.
We have paying customers, thousands of end users and our first 3 year license agreement with Scotland’s National Skills Agency, Skills Development Scotland. In three years we will have scaled the company significantly, opened a second office in the US, further developed the platforms commercial analytical capabilities and closed a deal with a major UK provider to use our platform, as far afield as Singapore to Chile.
Investment resulting from EIE will enable first mover advantage, rapid expansion, by securing multiple pre- contract agreements. Importantly it will change the lives of thousands of young people globally by closing the skills gap.
For more information please contact Kirsty email@example.com
Levima simplifies expense management for businesses making spend predictable, visible and insightful. We cut out reconciliation, manual data entry and reimbursement focusing instead on upfront budget approval – this allows businesses to let their people spend autonomously and with trust but, without losing overall control.
Our vision is to redefine what the business banking sector should be like – with mobile, service driven fintech solutions at it’s heart which delight and truly add value to businesses based on advanced data analytics.
Expense management is just the start of that journey. So far we have a secured grant funding through SMART:SCOTLAND to support our technical development and have early users piloting the product. We have businesses lined up who want to test Levima and are in discussion with channel partners to go to market.
In 3 years our goal is for Levima to be the go to cloud solution for business expense management. Our solution will seamlessly connect end-to-end with all aspects of a companies management tools from sales prospecting through to payroll. This will mean that businesses, whatever their size, can efficiently manage day to day financial operations and also get valuable insight into true cost and value of their spend across the board to help them make better business decisions and plan for success.
I am at the beginning of my startup journey with the team. Having worked with large corporates I am excited to be working in a startup with so many passionate and driven people who love what they do and have the opportunity to directly impact the success of a business. Finding the right investor partner to join our team revolutionising business banking is key. We’re raising £150k seed to support development in tandem with our Beta pilot and expand the team ahead of market launch to develop go-to-market relationships & sales channels.
For investment opportunities or to join the pilot with your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org
UrbanTide: Smart Cities Data Experts, urbantide.com
There is an Urban Tide happening. The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history as more people choose to live in cities. Over 50% of the world’s population currently live in urban areas and this is forecast to rise to over 70% by 2050.
We are currently developing our core product: the next generation U~SMART data platform to capture, extract, share, integrate, analyse and ultimately open-up city data. As individuals, we all produce data more than ever before – and by 2020 there will be an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the internet world-wide and generating data via the Internet of Things (IoT).
When there is a strategic attitude to valuing and utilisiting this data as an asset in its own right, a flexible and scalable approach to technology and an investment in real engagement with people who live, work and play in cities then magic can start to happen. Urban Tide has world-leading track record in the global smart cities marketplace (estimated at $1.5TN by 2020) and supports cities to accelerate their journey towards being smarter.
The team at Urban Tide is growing, and for me, this is a really exciting time as we work to put in place the robust foundations, principles and procedures that will allow us to develop a strong, open and involved culture from the outset – and scale quickly.
We have many other product concepts in the pipeline and finding the right investors at EIE 2016 will be key. Smart cities is a truly global opportunity and we are hitting the market at the right time as more and more cities, regions and countries across the world adopt a smart approach. Our work with cities and other large urban areas will help build smarter, sustainable and more liveable places for everyone.
Appointedd is a cloud based online booking and business management software. We power independent businesses – hairdressers, car valets, photographers, accountants to take any type of booking, on any platform, in any time zone.
We’ve built the world’s first cross-timezone booking tools, giving us the most flexible and scalable online booking system on the market. This allows global organisations to be bookable on one platform, and cuts down on the constant ‘timezone maths’ that organising a call or meeting across timezones usually takes. It’s so exciting to see the potential of our software to transform thousands of SMEs.
Appointedd is changing the world for small businesses by giving them all the tools they need to succeed, all on one platform. CRM, marketing automation tools, financial reporting and task management, all connected with online booking. Our software has two-way synchronisation with over 30 other SaaS tools and all major calendar systems, so we give business owners everything they need.
I’m so proud of the distribution network we’re building. We’ve just been selected as one of 12 integrated systems in an innovative app platform curated by National Australia Bank. The deal will see Appointedd’s software being offered to 700,000 SMEs across Australia.
The next few years are going to be so exciting for Appointedd. Online booking is booming – consumers are getting more demanding and we want to be able to book everything online. Powered by Appointedd will be the ‘Intel Inside’ – gold standard for online booking.
We have recently closed an investment round so we’re looking forward to connecting with potential customers and distribution partners, as well as building relationships with investors for a round in 2017.
For partnership or investment opportunities, email@example.com
Competition!! Win Sunglasses!
The ideas are so bright at EIE this year that Nano-lit will be giving away two gorgeous pairs of Vira Sun sunglasses at EIE 2016 and an additional pair drawn at random from the Twitter-sphere on Sunday 29th May 2016. This competition is open to anyone. You don’t need to attend EIE to win!
How to Enter
Follow us on Twitter @QuantumDotsBlog, post your selfie with sunglasses and tweet: Win Sunglasses! Follow @QuantumDotsBlog Nano-Lit & Virasun, Selfie & Sunglasses competition. http://bit.ly/1WaOLUH #EIE16 #womenintech RT
See the full Vira Sun range at virasun.com/shop/
The competition will close at midnight GMT on Sunday 29th of May 2016. The judges decision is final.
Photo Credit: Vira Sun : )
By Belinda Love, Feb 2014
NEW BARBIE ALERT – BEHOLD THE ENTREPRENEUR (MODEL)
Recently, Mattel launched ‘Entrepreneur Barbie’ at the American International Toy Fair in New York.
Clad in a hot Mattel-pink businessy wiggle dress, and accessorising with her essential entrepreneurial tools of a smartphone and tablet, this forms part of Barbie’s “I Can Be” career line launched in 2010 in an effort to show and encourage up-to-date careers for women. The range has also included computer engineer, president, and astronaut.
I’m baffled as to whether I like the idea or not. I think I’m fifty-fifty?
I like the acknowledgment that women can play a significant role in business, and have the same ability as men to spark new, creative and profitable concepts and products. I like the fact there are four ethnicities, and I even like the fact that I, personally have a business frock, smartphone, tablet (er…and handbag and heels etc) – perhaps one of the first times a career-related Barbie I don’t feel I have to work too hard to achieve (such as owning my own riding stables, veteranary surgery, or …rocket ship?).
BARBIE – GO FIGURE
But, good grief I do wish her ankles looked more stable! Like the project this lovely artist worked on to show a more realistic Barbie doll: http://www.demilked.com/barbie-as-standard-woman
BARBIE – DO YOU EVEN NEED TO STUDY?
Apparently our dear Barbie has had over 150 jobs in her time-irrelevant life. I know she’s immortal (and fictional) but is there actually a University course Barbie?
…well at least she’s not exclusively in PINK I guess. And at least this is some evidence that she spent SOME time in a course of study before embarking on all these career paths.
BLONDES CAN GO TO UNI TOO
While doing my masters at University, one of the assessments on my course of study was to conduct and deliver a market anaylsis on a particular film audience market. I didn’t have an immediate idea as to which market I would analyse, until someone suggested watching the boxset of Legally Blonde I and II. Not, my normal cup-of-tea, but I was assured it was a must-watch from a critical perspective. By the Gods I thought it was awful. Laughable even. In fact I belly-laughed a lot. But in the same way I burst out laughing when I first saw the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ video, or Britney Spears’ ‘Oops I did It Again’ video. As I quickly realised that they weren’t in fact jokes or spoofs, they were in fact genuine, and moreover…EXTREMELY popular. A-ha! I had found my market to analyse; and delivered a suitably artistically scathing report; but nevertheless accurate, respectful and admiring of its impressively high numbers and market bouyancy. Just for added irony, I handed it in on PINK paper scented with Coco Chanel. It just gave it that little something…extra (for any Legally Blonde fans out there).
BARBIE – WHAT DOES MATTEL-PINK ACTUALLY SAY TO A GIRL?
We know that Barbie has always had a thing for PINK don’t we? Terrifyingly though when I think of ladies with a rather significant penchant for PINK, I don’t see a whole bunch of difference between exhibit A and exhibit B below:
Or for example this stupid lady (no really…I wasn’t just being mean – she actually WANTS to be stupider): http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/19/barbie-doll-fan-has-hypnotherapy-to-make-her-brainless-like-her-icon-4310750
(Dear Lady, I’m concerned your next moves might be to have your nipples removed, sew up your foo, or even try to have yourself hollowed out.) (By the way, Barbie’s jugs are not that big – by quite a lot).
But what, for the love of the whole frigging colour spectrum, is the recent obsession toy manufacturers have with moving more and more products to PINK, just for girls (supposably), – all about? Exhibit C here shows that we have now been allocated OUR OWN bricks (presumably because we were having too much fun with the boys’ ones and they wanted them back?), and Exhibit D shows that even our own gender-conventional toys have been given a PINKover (I’m sure I had a brown pram, and it was fine, and it was made better).
One of my own personal favourite toys (one of the few I had that wasn’t a piece of string or a lump of coal [crofter]) was this epic toy which gave me YEARS of entertainment (and was also really well made):
I ALWAYS wanted some LEGO of my very own, and STAR WARS toys of course. But I had to go visit my male friends to play with theirs – look at this fantastic 80s ad for LEGO (that’s what I’m talking about – that was pretty much me, only wearing MUCH MORE BROWN).
And here she is now: http://www.themarysue.com/girl-in-old-lego-ad
I’ve heard of specific compalints about LEGO recently from parents, and indeed from little ladies themselves: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/7-year-old-letter-to-lego_n_4682874.html | http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/lucy-tobin-forget-pink-lego-for-girls–just-let-toys-be-toys-9128078.html
Some folks have taken issue with the number of or portrayal of female characters in the otherwise five star rated “The LEGO Movie”: http://www.hypable.com/2014/02/23/pieces-what-the-lego-movie-taught-me-about-toys-and-equality
And there’s even talk of a smaller pinker girlier version of the movie: http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2014/02/22/slightly-smaller-and-pink-version-of-lego-movie-announced (they’ve actually got a job title called “Head of Marketing and Gender Separation”?)
I BLAME THE…
Some might say it is the resposibility of the parents who purchase the toys. But not all parents are taking this sitting down: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-toy-companies-our-girls-deserve-better-choices-than-princess
The GoldieBlox toy company has deliberately run with this edge and wants to “show the world that girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses”:
SHORT TERM GOOD INTENTIONS CLOUDED BY LONG TERM SELLING STRATEGY?
But could this all have started out with the best of intentions? Logically speaking, perhaps the toy companies were trying to widen interest in more unconventional play, career and life interests for girls by tempting them with pink versions?:
Look GIRLS! It’s LEGO! Did you know YOU could build too! And we’ve popped it in a handy large massive PINK brick for you (because we know how you like to be organised and stylish)
Look GIRLS! Just think! You too can be a musician and play outrageous instruments like the DRUMS (see how we’ve made it pink so you know it’s ok?)
Have you seriously thought about the potential of a career in agriculture? Don’t write off farming just yet (look see? And the pig poo wipes off a treat)
Amelia Earhart. Just saying!
Geekdom isn’t just for boy geeks too! (Look how more female friendly Darth and Halo person look now they’re doused in PINK)
Good news Girls! You can also use an offensive weapon! (See how we’ve cleverly doused one in PINK so you know which one you should have?)
[I have no cheeky caption for this – what the smeg?]
DON’T BE SO HARD ON PINK
Are we being too hard on PINK? Here’s a few REALLY COOL PINK THINGS just to make up for all the pink bashing:
LINKS AND SOURCES
Articles/ links on PINK toys topic:
The Telegraph: “Now’s the time to end the boys’ and girls’ toys gender divide”
– “In the run up to Christmas now’s the time to drop the damaging “blue for boys, pink for girls” toyshop nonsense and for children’s retailers to join the 21st century argues”. Eleanor Muffitt, Dec 2013: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10498316/Nows-the-time-to-end-the-boys-and-girls-toys-gender-divide.html
Independent: “Gender-neutral toys: Why dressing your daughter in pink ‘damages the future of our economy'”
– “Jenny Willott MP and Labour’s Chi Onwurah explain why limiting children’s play may impact their future career choices and hurt British industry”. Felicity Morse, Feb 2014: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/genderneutral-toys-why-dressing-your-daughter-in-pink-damages-the-future-of-our-economy-9111397.html
MyLifetime.com: “Lego Sets For Girls – Cheap Shot Or Good Idea?”: http://moms.mylifetime.com/parenting/blog/lego-sets-girls-cheap-shot-or-good-idea
Mylifetime.com: “This Goldieblox Video Proves That Girls Want More Than Just Pink Toys”: http://moms.mylifetime.com/in-the-news/this-goldieblox-video-proves-that-girls-want-more-than-just-pink-toys
Msmagazine.com: “Kids Toys More Gendered Than Ever”: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2013/06/05/kids-toys-more-gendered-than-ever
Daily Mail: “Pink Stinks: Parents Urged To Boycott Shops That Sell ‘Sexist’ Toys For Girls”. Sophie Freeman, Dec 2009: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233779/Parents-urged-boycott-pink-toys-Minister-backs-boycott-shops-sell-sexist-toys-girls.html
Zeldalily.com: “Young Kids Defy Gender’s Color Association”. Nicole Breanne, Jan 2012: http://zeldalily.com/index.php/2012/01/young-feminists
Zeldalily.com: “A Rethink On Pink Toys For Girls’ Christmas Presents In 2010?”. Amy Allen, Dec 2010: http://zeldalily.com/index.php/2010/12/a-rethink-on-pink-toys-for-girls-christmas-presents-in-2010
Mom-101.com: “Toy companies: Please please please stop ignoring what girls really want. (Hint: it’s not always pink.)”: http://mom-101.com/2014/02/toy-companies-ignoring-what-girls-want-pink-aisle.html
Iilsugar.com: “6 Classic Toys That Have Made the Switch to Pink”: Rebecca Gruber, Nov 2013:
Articles on Entrepreneur Barbie launch:
Forbes: “Mattel’s Latest Affront To Little Girls: Entrepreneur Barbie”. Clare O’Connor, Feb 2014: http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/02/19/mattels-latest-affront-to-little-girls-entrepreneur-barbie
Techcrunch: “Entrepreneurship Barbie Isn’t A Bad Idea Actually”. Alexia Tsotsis, Feb 2014: http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/19/keep-calm-and-love-math
Entrepreneur: “Introducing Entrepreneur Barbie”. Linda Lacina, Feb 2014: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231590
Time: “New ‘Entrepreneur Barbie’ Proves That the Perfect Work/Life Balance Is Just a Tiny Tablet Away (An entrepreneur of what, exactly?)”. Jessica Roy, Feb 2014: http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/18/new-entrepreneur-barbie-proves-that-the-perfect-worklife-balance-is-just-a-tiny-tablet-away/#ixzz2uEUKVpzw
Daily Mail: “New Entrepreneur Barbie featuring a tiny tablet and smartphone aims to be the ‘chief inspiration officer’ to modern girls”: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2562382/New-Entrepreneur-Barbie-featuring-tiny-tablet-smartphone-aims-chief-inspiration-officer-modern-girls.html#ixzz2uEV9AnJ5
Business Insider: “The Newest Barbie Is An Entrepreneur With A Tiny Tablet And Smartphone”. Hayley Peterson, Feb 2014: http://www.businessinsider.com/entrepreneur-barbie-debuts-with-tiny-tablet-2014-2#ixzz2uEW9ryXF
Allureworkshop.org: “Want to look like Barbie? Think again…”. Aug, 2012: http://allureworkshop.org/wanna-look-like-barbie
Elitedaily.com: “14 Lessons To Learn From Barbie”: http://elitedaily.com/women/14-lessons-to-learn-from-barbie
Themarysue.com: “Mattel Exec Defends Barbie’s Unrealistic Proportions, Says They Don’t Affect Girls’ Body Image”. Rebecca Pahle, Feb 2014: http://www.themarysue.com/mattel-exec-barbie-proportion
Blackdollcollecting.blogspot.co.uk: “Happy 30th Anniversary Black Barbie (or 29th)…”: http://blackdollcollecting.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/happy-30th-anniversary-black-barbie-or.html
Blackdollcollecting.blogspot.co.uk: “Barbie Basics From Ebony To White”: http://blackdollcollecting.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/barbie-basics-from-ebony-to-white.html
Dailybri.com: “The Naked Truth: Barbie Without Makeup”: http://www.dailybri.com/2013/04/15/the-naked-truth-barbie-without-makeup
Dailybri.com: “What Barbite Looks Like In Fat”: http://www.dailybri.com/2014/01/07/what-barbie-looks-like-in-fat