As part of its efforts to inspire more girls to take interest in STEM through play, LEGO Middle East launched its ‘Girls Are Ready’ global campaign in the region. At an exclusive event held at Dubai Astronomy Center in the lead-up to Emirati Women’s Day, the event featured Nora Al Matrooshi, the first Arab female astronaut, and the family of young Emirati inventor, Fatima Alkaabi and her younger sister, Shaikha Alkaabi.
As part of the ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign that celebrates the achievements of girls everywhere, the LEGO Group chose three young girls from different nationalities and backgrounds contributing to the local community and are already changing the world to be featured in a series of videos, which included the United Arab Emirates. Amongst the chosen participants were sisters, Fatima and Shaikha Alkaabi, marking the first time two young Emirati girls were featured in a global LEGO Group campaign video. Revealed at the press conference, the video spotlighted the sisters, who spoke to their love for space and their passion for bringing new ideas to life with LEGO bricks – a passion that was also represented as the event unveiled their model of the Mars Rover constructed from LEGO bricks, with the hope of seeing it going with fellow space explorers on a Mars mission one day.
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Built to empower young girls in the United Arab Emirates and around the globe, this campaign hopes to see more girls embrace and explore their individual passions. The ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign is a call by the LEGO Group to support girls’ interests and creative pursuits. The campaign looks to shed light on the challenging limitations imposed by gender biases, by driving focus around the role the wider community can play in encouraging their ambitions.
Amplifying the voices of young girls from around the world, the press conference featured keynote speeches by Nora Al Matrooshi, who spoke to her experience as the UAE’s first female astronaut, as well as Fatima and Shaikha Alkaabi. The young girls’ space rover build was also displayed at the event for audiences to see.
Urszula Bieganska, Head of Marketing, LEGO MEA, said: “We know from our research (Play Well Report) that 78% of parents globally say that they treat kids differently based on their gender and nearly 70% prefers kids to play with toys ‘associated’ stereotypically for their gender. It is very common that STEM-related play is more associated with boys. In launching the ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign, our aim is to not only encourage young girls to pursue their dreams but to shine a light on what the world can do to support their journeys and achievements. While girls have always been ready, the world is still playing catch-up to their creative power and must sometimes be rebuilt to ensure we fully understand and promote girls’ ambitions. With so much proud, young, up-and-coming female talent in our region, we are thrilled to see involvement in this initiative by both young voices like Fatima and Shaikha, as well as accomplished individuals like Nora Al Matrooshi, and hope this platform serves as a source of inspiration for young girls as they pave their own paths in today’s world.”
Nora Al Matrooshi, first Arab female astronaut, said: “The ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign is an important initiative that communicates an impactful message to young girls that the world has confidence in their abilities. Whatever their passions, girls can achieve great things through the support of their parents, teachers, friends, and wider community. As the UAE’s first Emirati astronaut, I’m proud to lend my voice as a source of inspiration for young girls looking to pursue new interests, especially girls who want to pursue an interest in STEM.”
Fatima Alkaabi, young Emirati inventor, said:“From a young age, I found that building with LEGO bricks helped me explore different ways of expressing myself. Building the space rover with my younger sister Shaikha was a wonderful way to share our love for space, and I learned that I could encourage her to apply her own creativity by building something that was uniquely ours and reflected our personalities. I’m excited to have been part of the ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign and look forward to inspiring other girls to design their own creations that represent their dreams.”
The ‘Girls Are Ready’ campaign calls on parents and gift-givers to help girls pursue their passions from a young age by pushing the boundaries of what they can choose to be. Underlining the wider initiative is the LEGO Group’s position that building with LEGO bricks helps every child expand his or her creativity through play. As a global leader in the toy industry, the LEGO Group is committed to driving positive change in play experiences, ensuring both our products and marketing is free from gender stereotypes and providing a wide range of products that encourage girls and boys respectively to challenge pre-existing ideas of their play experiences and focus on fueling their imagination and creativity to become the builders of tomorrow.