In a video from Ford Motor Co. to promote the effort, little boys are handed plastic tea cups while the girls receive toy cars. The boys are incredulous, exclaiming “these are girls’ toys!”
It’s supposed to be cute, but I can’t help but cringe. The differences between boys and girls seem more pronounced today than ever before. It’s hard to say who is responsible, but more girls seem to wear pink and worship Barbie and want to be princesses than they did in the late '70s/early '80s of my childhood.
Maybe through efforts like these, that can be turned around and girls can feel more empowered to use their brains for whatever career they desire.
Brownies and Juniors (400 total from each location) from the Girl Scouts Councils of Tropical Florida, Southeastern Michigan, Northeast Texas and Northern New Jersey will participate in track car racing via Girls’ Fast Track Races. Girls’ Fast Track Races is part of Ford’s commitment to STEAM education through its newly launched Ford STEAM Experience — a hub for creativity and learning. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. It’s a new take on the previous STEM, which left out art.
Through the program, girls are given the opportunity to learn about automotive science and engineering by building their own track race cars.
“We believe that all young children have an aptitude for technical subjects. What’s often lacking is the encouragement and additional support to succeed,” says Tracy Magee, Ford primary brand experiential manager. “Ford is deeply committed to education and through creative programs such as the Girls’ Fast Track Races, we hope to spark excitement among the youth and inspire them to pursue future careers in high-tech fields.”
Ford’s newly launched STEAM Experience works with longstanding Ford programs and outside organizations to help unify, shine a light on, and expand opportunities that inspire and enable students to pursue careers in the aforementioned fields. It serves as a hub for creativity and learning, Magee says.
This is not Ford’s first program geared specifically towards girls, she adds.
“Another great example is our program with ‘Girls Who Code,’ which includes mentorship and work at Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto for up to 180 young women in the Bay Area,” Magee tells me. “Further, for over 30 years, Ford has been unifying, highlighting, and expanding programs that inspire and enable students—boys and girls—to pursue STEM studies.”
Over the last five years, Ford has dedicated over $63 million to education.
“Right now in the U.S., education has emerged as the most important factor determining individual and community economic success and prosperity in a global knowledge economy,” Magee says. “Our country’s future prosperity depends on having a skilled and motivated workforce able to innovate, compete, and win in the new economy.”
Ford is excited about the Girls Scouts' collaboration because it represents a unique opportunity to broaden efforts to not only continue to foster girls’ exposure to and skills in the areas of STEAM, but to also highlight the role creativity and imagination play in intellectual development, and how this is fostered through arts education and artistic expression, Magee says.
The races will take place in October and November. The program gives participants the opportunity to connect and compete at the highest level — all while sparking creativity to ensure a brighter future, not just for Ford, but for the entire community.
“Girls need opportunities to expand their realm of what’s possible,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.
Hats off to Ford for giving more girls the power to dream of what is sadly still a non-traditional career route for women.