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Sissy's Magical Birthday Celebration

Can gender diversity in tech industries happen overnight, or do we need to wait a generation?

Ryan Creighton, Blogger

February 15, 2013

4 Min Read

[This article by Ryan Henson Creighton is re-posted from the Untold Entertainment blog, which is awesome.]

To celebrate Cassie's 7th birthday this weekend on February 17th, we're having a sale! This weekend only, the Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure iPad app will be on sale for 99 cents, and all Ponycorns merch in the Untold store - T-shirts, buttons and limited-edition plushies - will be 17% off! The sale starts THIS FRIDAY. Enter the promo code "BIRTHDAY" to save!


Cassandra Update

Thank you to everyone who has donated to Cassie's education fund. The donations were placed in a registered education savings plan for her, and we'll continue to make lump sum contributions as donations come in. Now in grade one, Cassie is reading and spelling quite well. This new literacy has opened up a world of interests for her. She dove into Pokémon manga books that she found at the school library, and then launched into a campaign in Pokémon Ruby after discovering and dusting off my old GameBoy Advance SP in the closet. She has no idea they made a Pokémon teevee show, so she'll totally flip when i show her the Pokémon TV App i downloaded for her today!

Uh ... how 'bout putting these headphones on, sweetie?

Ain't No Party Like a Robot Party

Last year when Cassie turned six, she asked us to throw her a robot party. The room was strewn with cardboard boxes which her guests could decorate with all kinds of craft supplies - markers, stickers, pipe cleaners and streamers. The party culminated in a robot parade as all the kids showed off their robot costumes. (FUN FACT: Cassie's robot birthday party was the inspiration for her robot transformation in her TEDx talk last fall.)

i hope this dial turns down the adorable.

This year, i'm really excited to give Cassie an Arduino Uno starter kit so that we can make actual robots together. An Arduino is a microcontroller - the brain of a robot. You can hook it up to your computer and use free software to tell it to do things. Then you plug all kinds of gizmos into the brain, called "shields", which enable the robot brain to receive input (from microphones, light sensors, barometers, etc) and then output electricity to other attachments (lights, LCD screens, motors, speakers). i can't wait to spend more daddy/daughter time with Cassie as we work through the guidebook and figure it all out together.

It's like fishing tackle, but for NYERDS!

i've read a lot of material about getting more women involved in the game industry and science & tech in general. Women should absolutely be involved, and of course, they should earn the same amount of money as their male counterparts. i'm always showing my daughters things like the Forbes Top Jobs for 2013 list, on which math and computer science skills feature heavily. But i don't think that we can all just wish it into being, or snap our fingers (or stamp our feet!) to make it happen right away.

As a career-aged woman today, you can't exactly read that Forbes list and think "instead of being an office manager/bank teller/teacher, i'm going to make a lateral move to become an information security analyst! Let me just update my resumé ... ?" By the time you've graduated from University with a major in Cultural Studies and a minor in Linguistics (and this goes for men and women alike), you're in a difficult place. Not impossible, but very very difficult.

My firm belief is that women in tech is an attainable future goal, not a present one. It's a change that will take a generation to really happen - not a quick fix we can force by retraining adults for a couple of years. Let's face it: learning everything you need to know about math is a long, slow burn. Today's parents need to actively sow those seeds with their young daughters if that's the kind of change they want to see. We need to make a conscious effort to explore math and scientific reasoning with our little girls! We need to stoke their natural curiosity and wonder before the world Barbies it out of them.

"Form a hypothesis about whether you smell pretty enough, little girls! *giggle*"

So! Cardboard robot party last year, actual robot present this year, and Ponycorns for all!

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