Girl Dismantles Boys-Only Robotics Program At Local Library
When Cash Cayen, who spends lots of time at the Timmins Public Library in Timmins, Ontario saw a summer robotics program, she went to sign up only to be met with a big, bolded “special boys program.”
When Cayen asked if she could take part, the asisstant library director replied that the program was specifically for boys since their academic and literary skills “don’t improve over the summer break,” which is a weird statement. Is she saying that girls are smarter or work harder during the summer? Thanks but no thanks, that’s a pretty flimsy reason. Awesomely, Cash and her mother didn’t give up there.
I explained that it was unfair that I was being denied this opportunity simply because I am a girl, but she insisted I could not register.
The two took it to Change.org with an overwhelming amount of support. With an original goal of 100 signatures, Cash’s petition now has over 33 thousand signatures in addition to comments sharing resources for girls interested in robotics and tech. The flood of positive comments shows a great effort to counteract the ways in which girls are often deterred or steered away from STEM.
And although the wording of the apology is a bit weak (how do you misunderstand “boys program?”) boys and girls can now take part in the robotics program. The library’s statement that read,
The Timmins Public Library Board and staff wish to apologize to the public and Science Timmins for the misunderstanding related to the Robotics event which was designed to encourage improved literacy through reading.
The July 20th event will be open to all children between the ages of 9-12.
I went to a robotics summer camp when I was younger and it was a lot of fun (we had robot fights). If I wasn’t allowed because I was a girl, I imagine I would be a lot more averse to the field. Have fun, Cash!
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