NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits, the technology start-up that is empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small, with its easy-to-use platform of electronic building blocks, was selected as a case study panelist for a conference focused on breaking down gender stereotypes in children’s media and toys, sponsored by the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Education, and the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California. The April 6th event, entitled “Helping Our Children Explore, Learn and Dream Without Limits: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys,” re-ignited the cultural dialogue around gender equality. Ms. Bdeir’s presentation highlighted how littleBits has successfully bridged the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, inspiring young girls and young boys to embrace STEAM (Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics) through invention-based learning.
littleBits was among a handful of top children’s companies selected to participate in this dynamic event, and was featured alongside some of the most globally prestigious children’s brands including LEGO, Disney, Mattel, and DC Comics.
Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits, said, “We strongly believe that gender neutrality is essential for encouraging girls to pursue STEM and STEAM. Everything at littleBits--from the color of our circuit boards to our packaging to the inventions we feature--has been deliberately designed to be gender-neutral and accessible to everyone, to unleash creativity and instill a love of STEM/STEAM through the cycle of inventing. We hope the conversation today with our fellow panelists will help to keep the spotlight on the need to fight gender stereotypes and encourage young girls, like their male classmates, to pursue STEAM.”
As part of the conversation around breaking down gender stereotypes, Bdeir presented littleBits’ initiative of bringing project-based learning, and ways to seamlessly integrate STEM and STEAM into curriculum, to schools across the United States. Already, littleBits is collaborating with 3,000 schools and 12,000 educators, and they are currently working on a summer program with the New York City Department of Education, in an effort to make STEAM more accessible to all students of both genders and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. Their newest product, the littleBits STEAM Student Set, an easy-to-use toolbox for invention-based learning, is currently available to pre-order at www.littlebits.com/education and will hit shelves on April 15th.
Beyond Ms. Bdeir’s panel and presentation, the April 6th conference focused on how children’s ambitions, skills, and interest are shaped early on by the media they consume and toys they play with. The main question posed to participants was how we can ensure that children’s media and toys expose them to diverse role models and teach them a variety of skills so that they can fulfill their potential. STEM industries offer some of the top paying, most in-demand careers, yet women hold only 28 percent of STEM jobs.
littleBits is the New York-based hardware startup that is on a mission to Democratize Hardware by empowering everyone to Create Inventions, large and small, with a platform of easy-to-use Electronic Building Blocks. The company’s innovative building blocks snap together with magnets to allow anyone to build, invent, and prototype with electronics independent of age, gender and technical background – no soldering, wiring, or programming required. littleBits breaks down powerful technology – from music with the littleBits Synth Kit, to the Internet of Things with the Smart Home Kit – and makes the technology accessible and easy to understand. The company was founded in 2011 by MIT graduate, TED Senior Fellow and cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit, Ayah Bdeir, and has grown to be a global leader in hardware. Bdeir was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of one of Inc.’s “35 Under 35” and "Entrepreneurs to Watch," one of Entrepreneur's "10 Leaders to Watch," one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. The littleBits platform includes more than seven kits and 67 interoperable modules with millions of products sold in over 100 countries around the world. The company was named in CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch”, one of the CNBC Next List, and has been profiled by the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Wired, Popular Mechanics. To learn more, visit littleBits.com.