Ayah Bdeir, Founder and CEO of littleBits chats to Bird about her passion for engineering and her goal to inspire a new generation.
Was there a key moment growing up that lead to your interest and eventual career in engineering?
From a young age, I always had a knack for math and science, which is why my parents and teachers continuously encouraged me to pursue engineering as a career path. While I very much enjoyed understanding how things work, I was always very drawn to design and art. Any chance I got, I would sit in on art classes with my sisters, who are designers, because I just loved to explore my creative side and wanted to bring that to the field of engineering. My passions for both sides of the spectrum are really what led me to the technology world and in particular to the maker movement.
You purposefully make your products gender-neutral, why is this such an important aspect of littleBits?
At littleBits, we strongly believe that gender neutrality is essential for encouraging girls to pursue STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). We are currently seeing that 30-40% of our kid inventors are girls (which is a strong statistic already for an electronics product), but our goal is to reach that 50% mark. Everything at littleBits – from the color of our circuit boards to our packaging to the inventions we feature – has been deliberately designed to be gender-neutral and accessible to everyone, to unleash creativity and instill a love of STEAM through the power of play and invention. Ultimately we want everyone — regardless of age, gender, background or discipline — to have the problem-solving skills and creative confidence to invent the world they want to live in.
Do you have one piece of advice for young women wanting to become engineers?
Always try to take being a woman out of the equation first. Don’t waste your time even thinking about being a female engineer. You are simply an engineer. Save that brain space for creativity and productive work. If you are good at what you do and if you excel, gender doesn’t have to be acknowledged as a factor of success.
Learn more about littleBits.