More and more we are seeing women who smash stereotypes reach out to help young girls do the same. Stereotypes hold girls back – so much so that while women comprise 48% of the regular work force, they only make up 24% of STEM workers – and thus are widely underrepresented. In recent years there’s been a push back, where women in the STEM field tap into this opportunity for girls and provide what has been missing: a lack of female role models, issues with gender stereotyping, and more.
The latest bid in this hopeful message comes in the form of a customizable book, with a message that girls can be the heroes of their own stories.
The book, ‘Secret Code’, follows a young girl who hates chores, but loves coding, and programs her own robot to clean up her mess. As the robot gets a bit out of hand, the heroine is responsible saving the day. And while the story obviously ends in triumph, it also includes free and fee-based educational resources for girls to explore.
“Showing role models is really important and girls need to literally see themselves in empowering roles,” creator of the story Mara Binudin-Lecocq said. “My goal too was to turn inspiration into action.”
She went on to explain that she created this as an ‘antidote to the stereotype that girls and women don’t thrive in science, tech, math and engineering careers.’
However what makes this book different, is that the readers will be able to find themselves in the protagonist – literally! The book is not illustrated with just one single character. Instead, parents (or family/friends) can customize the book to reflect a girl’s appearance and race or ethnicity.
There are currently four prototypes of the story, reflecting white, black, asian, and latino heritages, as well as customizations for hair style and color, eye color and skin tone.
“I wanted girls to be able to see themselves,” Binudin-Lecocq said.
And while these are only the start, there will be even more options to make the book reflect the girls real life coming soon. Currently the heroine’s parents featured in the book match the girls appearance, but soon there will be an option to change the characters from a man and woman to portray a single-parent household, a same-sex couple or mixed-race couple.
To get a custom book costs $36 including shipping, however Binudin-Lecocq is looking into creating a .pdf version that will be more affordable.
Here’s the video promo for the personalized book and it’s female tech-savvy hero:
You can order your paperback version HERE.