Could Legos Alleviate Architecture's Gender Imbalance?

With women accounting for only 20% of registered architects in Britain and 8% of professional engineers, the incoming president of the Royal Academy of Engineering has a compelling idea to encourage more women to enter the fields: give girls legos.

1 minute read

January 13, 2014, 7:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Dame Ann Dowling, who later this year will be appointed the first female president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, believes that if girls were encouraged to play with toys such as Lego, more of them might go on to pursue careers like hers (less than 8% of professional engineers in Britain are women and only 20% of registered architects)," writes Rachel Cooke.

A recent book that explores the connection between building for play and building for pay gives weight to the impact that construction toys can have on career goals and creative development. 

"It isn't only a person's future taste that is influenced by construction toys. Nor is it one's basic understanding of how a bridge might need to be supported or a tower underpinned, things you learn from Lego without even realising it," adds Cooke. "It is one's sense of possibility."


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