Sunday, February 15, 2015
Today I am grateful for a local company, K’nex Brands L.L.C., in Hatfield, PA. If you have kids or grandkids, you have probably already either bought or played with K’nex construction toys. What I learned today in The Inquirer, is that they are making a huge effort towards girls! That’s just great.
The front page of the Business section (D-1) features an article by Jane M. Von Bergen, an Inquirer Staff Writer, about a bunch of forward thinking young women who are taking marketing and design in a new direction, gearing it towards girls and how they play. Good for them. Good for the company that hired them. Good for all of the girls out there who might aspire to become engineers or contractors or any other job traditionally held by males, because of early exposure to their product.
For too long we’ve pigeon holed our girls into a comfortable spot in society whereby they will study towards expected careers. It’s getting much, much better, but we still have a long way to go. We still need to yank off that pink blanket a little more often. Some girls just don’t like girly things. They like building and tearing down and building again. K’nex has learned that most girls like to build with friends when boys tend to prefer soloing. I am impressed with the efforts taken to discover this and make necessary changes in marketing.
It has been 35 years since my husband hired his first female ceramic engineer at Corning Glass Works. There were few to choose from because not many women studied engineering. Personnel Departments (what is now Human Resources) were resistant to take a chance on them, but John fought the fight and won. I’m happy to say that throughout his career he was a leader in recruiting smart, dedicated women engineers. It’s one of the things he. . .and I. . .are most proud of.
Today I am grateful for, but also proud of K’nex Brands L.L.C., in my own backyard, for pushing for equitable change with their construction toys. Who knows how many six year old girls might have the engineering bug bite, opening up a completely different kind of future for them? Way to go, K’nex!