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LEGO inspire gender equality again.

This petition had 1,904 supporters

In 1974 LEGO included a letter with some of their toys that encouraged parents to allow both their sons and daughters to express themselves with their building sets. Because of toys like LEGOs I became interested in building, engineering and technology.  I think more than ever, we need companies like LEGO to make these types of simple efforts again, to encourage young girls to get more involved with science and technology. Join me and ask LEGO to put the letter back in the box!

My name is Karen Catlin. As a former VP at Adobe Systems I noticed every day the scarcity of women in high tech. Often times I was the only woman at the executive table and over the years noticed fewer and fewer women joining tech companies. I believe this is a problem. We need gender diversity within the industry so that the products that will drive our future are created with everyone in mind, not just men. That’s why I left my executive job to work on projects that supported women within the tech industry.

Engineers like me love making things. Chances are, they grew up tinkering with stuff around the house. They played with toys and games that allowed them to build structures and create. I have fond memories of going to my grandparents' house, where the only toy was a simple box of LEGOs. I’m thankful everyday that my parents and grandparents encouraged me to use my mind and be creative. I loved building houses, cars, and make-believe worlds with those little blocks. As time passed, I replaced LEGOs with software programming. It provided me an outlet to be creative and build solutions, just like I had with that box of LEGOs. But, since then, it seems that many other women have been discouraged from the field.

In 1985, 37% of the computer science degrees in the US were awarded to women. By 2011, this number had dropped by more than half to just 17%. The overall numbers of women getting their computer science degrees also dropped during that period, from over 14,000 in 1985 to under 8000 in 2011.These staggering drops have been directly related to how things like the Commodore 64 and other tech focused toys were advertised wholly to boys in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.

Toy companies can have a huge impact on a child’s interests and thus, their future. I wonder what would be different if LEGO had continued including that letter in all of their boxes. Would more girls, like me, have been encouraged to build things? Would they have been pushed to pursue a career in engineering? Would more women now be computer scientists, working on building solutions to the world's problems?  I think the answer is "yes," and that's why I want LEGO to include this powerful letter again, just like they did in 1974 when I was still a young girl. Join me and ask LEGO to inspire us again.

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