Girl Fights “Boys Only” Robotics Program, Makes Her Library More Equitable

An Ontarian girl fought the biblio-patriarchal establishment and won! Cash Cayen, a girl from Timmins, Ontario who just wanted to make some gull-derned robots – because WHO DOESN’T, REALLY – was turned away from a “Special Boys [sic] Program” for robotics at Timmins Library because, alas, she is a girl. When she asked the assistant library director if she could participate, the assistant library director held her ground on the boys-only policy and responded that the program was for boys because boys’ academic skills and literacy “don’t improve over the summer break,” which, what? I’m not sure how preventing girls from also participating in engineering workshops bolsters boys’ academic performance.

Cash and her mother started a petition, looking for 100 signatures and turning out 33,000 along with some pretty great responses from women who work in robotics and engineering. Timmins Library apologized for the “misunderstanding” (I don’t think anything was misunderstood) and tried to explain away the weird gender exclusion again by saying that the program was “designed to encourage improved literacy through reading.” Which, again, what? How does it negatively affect boys’ literacy for girls to be literate and tech-capable? Please explain this to me like I’m between the ages of nine and 12 and interested in learning about robotics, Timmins Library.

But it’s cool: Cash and her STEM-interested friends of any gender can now participate in the program. Go Cash!

[The Mary Sue]

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