Big things grow from little STEMs
Mamma Couture is breaking sexist stereotypes with her new doll collection for children: STEM Dolls (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.)
The numbers of women working in these fields is low (12.8% in the UK* and 24% in the US**), despite the amazing opportunities they offer. There are many reasons for this gender gap, and sadly one of them is that from very early on, girls are discouraged from following these paths through the choice of toys available to them in childhood.
For Eva Berkes, founder of Mamma Couture and mum of two, the situation was unacceptable. “Trying to find toys and dolls for my five-year-old daughter was disheartening,” she explains. “Most of the dolls on offer are sparkly princesses with unrealistic figures and too much make-up, promoting a dangerous body ideal and putting too much emphasis on external appearance – and not enough on intellectual and personal qualities. So I decided to do something about it.”
While designing a collection to break that stereotype, Eva wanted to convey a true image of positive femininity. The concept was meticulously thought through, beginning with interviewing 50 professional women working in the STEM fields. Their responses were amazing and showed just how diverse they were. Some of them come from families of scientists, and others from families of farmers. Some are fashionistas, others aren’t; some are still studying and others are experts in their field. Eva found one thing that linked them all: they all loved their job and were passionate about their field.
To ensure her STEM collection was raising awareness of the right issues, Eva asked advice from a specialist in gender issues, Eva Fodor, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at the Central European University. She fully endorsed Eva’s initiative, and says: “Projects such as the STEM dolls from Mamma Couture may influence girls’ professional choices, which would promote gender equality.”
In order to create a collection of dolls that would reflect the rich and diverse vision she had in mind, Mamma Couture turned to Melissa Greenwood, a London-based illustrator specializing in hand-drawn bespoke design. Together, they created four dolls, their professions and their journeys, and Melissa’s illustrations brought them to life. The result is that each doll is completely unique, each with its own personality and style that will appeal to young girls.
Selene is a Ph.D. student in Chemistry. Her work is helping to develop new solutions to make bio-fuels and solve the world’s fuel crisis.
Torielle is a Doctor in Computer Science. She founded her own start-up and now travels the world to share her knowledge.
Esha has a Masters in Aerospace Engineering. She designs and builds components for spaceships that will send telescopes in outer space.
Melissa is a Professor in Mathematics. She uses statistics to find patterns in abnormalities within cancer cells.
Selene, Torrielle, Esha and Melissa have been designed to show girls that life has so many opportunities for them, and that the world can’t wait to see them grown and be part of the STEM revolution if they choose.
The dolls are designed and manufactured in the UK. The fabric used is 100% GOTS Cotton (organic), and the dolls are machine washable with a gentle program at a cold temperature. Each doll is sold with accessories that match her profession.