School Girl Exposes A Sexist Problem In A Shoe Brand, Starts An Online STEM Revolution


Behold, you don’t need to be a famous lawyer (Gandhi, Nelson Mandela), in the medical profession (Mother Theresa) or even a political hero (Benazir Bhutto) to lead a revolution or possibly change the world. All you need is some courage and a passion to fix an injustice that you see.

At least that’s what worked for an 8 year old British school girl. Sophia Trow from Middlesbrough didn’t like the fact that Clarks shoes made dinosaur shoes for boys, but only made flowery shoes for girls. A shopping trip with her mom left her rather disappointed so she decided to write a letter to the multinational corporation and try to solve this sexist dilemma.

The letter was tweeted to Clarks via Sophia’s mom’s twitter account. Jane Trow told a local UK paper that her daughter is a huge science fan and loves dinosaurs, but she was upset that Clarks’ Stomposaurus range which leaves behind reptile footprints, was not made for girls.


“I don’t like how girls just have to like pink and purple – I like blue and science and fossils. Clarks should learn what girls really want and do something about it,” said Sophia to the paper.

It is yet another example of how social cues are subconsciously limiting girls’ imaginations and already defining gender roles for them at a young age.

“I want my children to have options – if they want to go down the pretty girl, traditional route and grow up to have a family then I’ll be proud,” said mom Jane.

“If they’d prefer a career, no children or to play with toys that aren’t supposed to be for girls then I’m equally as proud. I don’t want them hampered by expectations that tell them how they should behave as girls – I want them to be able to do whatever they want to do and become strong women.”

It seems her voice was heard and Clarks issued a statement saying they were sorry Sophia was told this shoe was only for girls, and they are planning on extending their unisex range. Hmm ok, that doesn’t exactly sound like much has changed, but at least they heard her voice.

In the meantime, an online community dedicated to promoting the works of women in the sciences called Trowelblazers heard about the letter and lent their support via twitter using a hashtag #inmyshoes.

“When we saw the story about Sophie Trow, who wanted to purchase dinosaur themed shoes but was told they were not made for girls, we thought we could step in and show Sophie that ‘dino shoes’ aren’t the only way to have a connection to dinos,” wrote  Brenna Hassett, a founder of TrowelBlazers and a bioarchaeologist at the Natural History Museum London.

“I tweeted a picture of my shoes with our office pterodactyl figurine perched on them to make the point, with the hashtag #InMyShoes. Happily, we have an amazing community at TrowelBlazers who jumped in to show their support for Sophie by sharing their own pictures.”


Once they started tweeting images of famous female scientists, everyday women started adopting the #InMyShoes hashtag and posted images of themselves on twitter showing Sophia, Clarks Shoes and anyone in doubt about whether women are interested in sciences, that it’s high time we stopped looking at this field as a “man’s world”.

Brenna and her team were moved by Sophia’s story because they want to get young girls interested in paleontology, and she is a great example of why schools, organizations and companies can no longer exclude girls from STEM subjects.

“I think it’s incredibly important for women who can act as role models, especially in areas where women are unrepresented like the sciences, to make an effort where they can to show girls like Sophie that dinosaurs are something anyone can be into. Our mission is to reset imaginations, and to show that despite common perceptions of what might be ‘appropriate’, women have been making contributions to the fields we work in for much longer than most people realize,” Brenna told the Christian Science Monitor.

“We are absolute supporters of efforts to improve the numbers of girls and women in science, especially earth science, and really believe that role models are crucial to overcoming ‘stereotype threat’ – the added pressure that comes with being in a minority group.”

The Trowelblazers live by the mantra “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” and it’s high time corporations stopped limited girls’ imaginations. Check out the online revolution 8 year-old Sophia started: in-my-shoes-twitter-hashtag


One Comment

  1. Pingback: No STEM Clothing Lines For Girls? No Problem. These Moms Just Created 'Budding Stem'

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