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Her mission: Disrupt the pink aisle!

NEED TO KNOW
  • Debbie Sterling created toys that encourage girls to use their brains
  • Her Kickstarter campaign was a huge viral hit
  • Now, Debbie's toys are on store shelves across the country
GOLDIEBLOX

Meet Goldie, the star of GoldieBlox. She's an inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Image courtesy goldieblox.com.

Debbie Sterling never played with construction toys when she was little. Her parents thought they were for the boys. But that didn't stop her from building. Debbie used what was available -- like those little sugar packets at restaurants -- to build anything she could dream up.

It wasn't until high school that a teacher suggested Debbie pursue engineering. She didn't really know what engineering was, but decided to give it a try.  She fell in love with it after her very first class at Stanford. But it wasn't easy. For the first time in her life, she wasn't the smartest one in the room. And she was often the only girl in her classes. But Debbie stuck with it and went on to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design.

Years later, Debbie and a former classmate were talking about the lack of women in the engineering field. Debbie began to wonder what her life would have been like if she'd been given construction toys when she was a kid. She wondered what kind of "edge" she might have if she'd been encouraged to build rather than play dress up. So, she decided to do something about it.

The very next day, Debbie walked in to a toy store to see how things had evolved since she was a little girl. And she was shocked by what she saw. The "pink aisle" was filled with dolls, makeup and beauty parlors -- toys that Debbie says make it clear to little girls that they should care about the way they look. The "blue aisle" was very different -- stocked with toys that were educational and taught things like math. At that moment, Debbie knew that the girls were missing out. She knew she had to create a toy that got girls excited about engineering. She had to make the toy she'd wished she had when she was a little girl.

Watch the video above to see how Debbie went on to create GoldieBlox and how she has literally disrupted pink aisles all across the country. And you can join the revolution by connecting with GoldieBlox on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

GoldieBlox is being honored this year at the fifth annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards for changing the rules when it comes to how little girls learn to play. You can see some of the other "disruptors" being honored this week on Morning Express with Robin Meade, starting at 6 a.m. ET.

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