A blessing for Parents of Young Girls - One Father's Perspective
*This post is by Joshua Sneideman, a former middle school science teacher with 10 years of teaching experience and VP at Learning Blade.*
I am the father of three beautiful, intelligent, and amazing young girls. I am so excited about a store dedicated to women’s empowerment and fun. I have been in the field of education for the past 15 years. I have witnessed trends come and go as educational fads of one sort or another rolled in like waves on a beach only to recede with time. There is one trend that is a tsunami of change. I can say I am new to this trend and I know historically it has over 100 years been building momentum and strength but I believe we all witnessed its transcendent arrival on January 21st.
This was the Woman’s March on DC. For the past 10 years in education a necessary movement has been taking place to emphasize the need for gender equality in all subjects and career paths. I have witnessed Barbie add new figures to represent more diversity. I’ve seen the rise of Goldieblox - an engineering game just for girls. I can now easily buy children’s books about girl engineers (Rosie Revere Engineer) and girl scientists (Ada Peck Scientist). But until now there has not been a one stop shop for all things woman and girls. This matters!
My introduction enforce to women’s issues in education came from my participation with founder of Zora & Amelia, AnneMarie, while we both worked together. Her lifelong passion of advocating for women’s issues was a crash course for me. Her steadfastness and determination on bringing women’s issues to the highest levels of government were an inspiration to me. While I had always considered myself a STEMinist - a STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) teacher who was a feminist, it was my work with AnneMarie on an online series about women in STEM careers and our collaboration on other work projects where I cut my teeth. Through her efforts, I would meet new inspirational friends, like my friend Ann Merchant at the National Academy of Sciences who daily advocates for Hollywood to put women in more higher profile scientific roles. Or Andresse St. Rose, the lead author of “Why So Few? Women in STEM” explain the far too numerous barriers both explicit and hidden which keep women from succeeding and far too often entering in the STEM workforce.
Most of these barriers are deeply rooted in the ugly concept of gender bias. I now provide professional teacher development focusing on the Girl Scouts’ seminal report “Generation STEM”, which highlights both the motivations and obstacles to young female students in the math and sciences. Major recommendation: female students of all ages need more information on STEM pathways and need to see examples of women succeeding in STEM. That is why I am so happy that Hidden Figures was produced while my children are still preteens.
This is my long winded introduction to say Zora & Amelia is an inspirational idea not by someone trying to make a quick buck on the monumental Women’s March, but rather a lifelong woman’s activist who is yet again wading into new territory for all our benefit. So please do support this novel and much needed effort.