Clothing Line Responds to Request for Girls’ Science-Themed T-Shirts

I can already tell that my nearly three-year-old daughter is going to have a proclivity for math and science. She has spatial reasoning for a toddler that I’ve never seen before and loves everything earth and science-based, including digging in the garden with me, learning about astronomy and “dinosnores” as she calls them (quite adorably).

She also loves playing with dolls and Cinderella is one of her favorite movies – sometimes she dresses up as a butterfly or princess and sings and dances around the house. At this age, she’s all about exploring the whole world around her – not just one tiny pink or purple sliver of it.

While a walk down the “girl” toy aisle might tell you differently, there are retailers that are catching on that girls have greater interests than just dolls and cute puppies and sequins. Science, math, Paleontology, sports and realistic-looking animals are not only for boys.

One retailer, Lands’ End, in response to a letter posted to its Facebook page (that went viral very quickly) by a mom concerned that she and her nine-year-old daughter, who loves science and astronomy, could not find science-themed graphic t-shirts in the girls’ section of the Lands’ End catalog – just the boys’ section – has taken steps to rectify the situation.

The company’s new line of science-themed t-shirts for girls launched on July 30. Posted on its Facebook page, the company notes that pre-orders are being taken and based on the response to the shirts, the company will continue to add new styles.

In response, the Lands’ End Facebook community has continued to ask for more gender-breaking apparel.

One Facebook fan writes, “Can we please also get ‘boy’ shirts with some more variety of colors (how about a purple?), and animals other than dangerous animals with teeth? And please take gender labels off of things like backpacks & lunchboxes that don’t have a different fit.”

Another writes, “Do these come in adult size? I’m a female astronomy teacher! I want one!”

This isn’t the first time a clothing retailer has been taken to task for its biased clothing line. Last year, I wrote about a t-shirt featured by The Children’s Place that alluded to young ladies that math was less important than (and they weren’t as good at it as) shopping, music and dancing. That shirt was quickly removed from store shelves and online.

Especially in an age where STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs are plentiful, necessary and well-paying, there is still a disparity in the number of women and minorities employed in those fields – though the gap is smaller than it has been in the past, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project. The program has a number of statistics on its web site that point to the disproportion of women and minorities in the STEM fields.

While the next generation of STEM workers probably doesn’t hinge on a t-shirt design (or lack thereof), it’s important to continue the drumbeat that girls are good at math and science and can get those well-paying STEM jobs that are so necessary for the future success of America.

Throwback Thursday: An Outlook for the 1990s

In digging through our archives, I discovered the June/July 1990 edition of Outlook — the bimonthly Indiana Chamber publication that preceded BizVoice magazine. The edition featured some predictions for the future with its segment, “Human Resources: What the 1990s Will Bring?”

The article outlines expectations in areas like employee rights, education and training, changing demographics, work relationships and productivity issues. That’s all nice and good, but here’s what it didn’t predict about the 1990s:

Clear Pepsi: People bag on it, but it wasn’t the worst thing. And it challenged everything you thought you knew about soda technology.
Epic Boyz II Men ballads: In all my a cappella groups, I generally call All-Time Bass Voice Guy Who Talks Over the Other Guys Who Are Singing … “Girl, you know I love you. But I saw you behind the bleachers with my friend, Jeremy. Yeah, that’s right. Shoot. That’s ok, I’ll still take you back…”
Hypercolor shirts: Hormonal teenagers just begging for someone to touch them.
JNCO jeans: I wore these. It looked like I was “busting a sag,” but they were actually secured around my waste line; they just had low pockets. So I could be cool, but also a respectable future young professional with dreams and goals.
The rise of Bill Clinton: We all know the story.
The corresponding rise of Newt Gingrich: Clinton’s arch-nemesis — we all know that story too. No shortage of egos in this feud.
Grunge music: RIP Kurt Cobain. A fellow southpaw, he inspired me to start playing a right-handed guitar upside down — so I sounded extra angsty/awful.
My senior dinner party: I moonwalked in front of my fellow seniors at Lebanon High School. For reference, I tried moonwalking again just last week and tweaked my meniscus.

Tattoos No Longer Taboo in the Workplace

When I was growing up, Cracker Jack was one of my favorite snacks – not so much because of the flavor, but because I loved digging through the mountain of caramel corn to find the prizes. I always hoped for the fake tattoo, which I proudly displayed to family members, my Cabbage Patch Kids – even my beloved puppy who was my partner in crime during countless adventures for 14 years.

Recently, I read a press release by Chicago-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. that talks about something I never had to worry about back then: the impact of tattoos on a job search. It suggests that the growing popularity of tattoos over the last 20 years (approximately 45 million Americans have at least one) has contributed to body art becoming more socially acceptable in the workplace.

According to the company, employers are most concerned with hiring the best person for the job and if that person has tattoos it’s not a big deal in most cases (although some professions such as banking, accounting and law are more conservative in their approach). Also, many of the people involved in hiring decisions are young and have less traditional views about worker appearances.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas discourages candidates from hiding their tattoos during interviews unless they are offensive or they think the employer would object to them. One easy way to find out? Ask the receptionist. If the company doesn’t approve of tattoos, it’s the employee’s responsibility to conceal them.

The firm offers some additional interviewing tips related to modern trends:

  • Piercings: With increased security at many corporate offices, too much bling could set off metal detectors. In addition, too many piercings might be a distraction for the interviewer. Also, it would be prudent to remove tongue and lip piercings, as these often make it difficult for others to understand what you are saying.

  • Cell phones: Cell phones should be turned off and stashed away in a bag or briefcase. Even on vibrate, a cell phone going off can be a major distraction in the interview.

  • Portable music players: Keep the iPods at home. If co-workers see you with ear buds in your ears all day long, they will assume you are not listening and possibly not working very hard.

  • Dress for the job you want