What This Kindergarten Teacher Is Doing To Promote Gender Equity Might Make You Pull Out Your Hair

December 03, 2015Dec 03, 2015

"Tommy, step away from the LEGO!"


That is essentially what one kindergarten teacher is saying as she seeks to solve workplace gender inequities — one LEGO brick at a time.

According to the Bainbridge Island Review, local kindergarten teacher Karen Keller is horrified that men and women don't learn all the same skills in life and don't work in all the same jobs, and she feels the problem starts in childhood with how parents raise their kids. And now she's trying to fix that.

After determining that playing with LEGO helps build math and spatial skills, Keller immediately banned the boys in her class from playing with LEGO so they wouldn't have an unfair advantage in life over the girls in the class who were less apt to play with the plastic building blocks.

And when the boys object? Lying to them is not out of the question.

Keller admits, “I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head. I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”

But the girls don't always want to play with LEGO, and it dismays Keller when they choose dolls and crayons instead, which she believes will have much less benefit to their careers.

Keller doesn't just blame parents for harming their daughter's future workplace performances. She also blames LEGO and other toy manufacturers for not marketing building toys well enough to girls and instead developing toys for them that encourage domestic skills like homemaking, cooking, and decorating.

Keller also blames other teachers for not doing everything that she's doing.

“I just feel like we are still so far behind in promoting gender equity.”

What do you think about what she's doing?