It's amazing what an offhand comment can start.
Shrinivas Kulkarni, an astrophysicist at CalTech, was interviewed on NPR when he casually said: "Many scientists are, I think, secretly, what I call 'boys with toys.'"
The implicit sexism of the comment didn't sit well with anthropologist Kate Clancy, who was listening to the program with her 7-year-old daughter. She then posted pictures to social media of women using "toys" to further the advancement of humankind through science, tagging them with #girlswithtoys.
Soon, other scientists followed suit, posting pictures of themselves or their idols using the equipment that makes scientific discovery possible.
Kulkarni's comment probably wasn't made with the intention of excluding the important scientific work done by women, but it does highlight that many people still equate science as an inherently male profession.
Clancy turned the lemon of a comment into lemonade, by encouraging women to share the really cool tools and toys they use on a daily basis and bust down that tired old stereotype.
These toys are anything but simple.
Toys help girls get to the most extreme places on the planet for discoveries that are truly out of this world.
These toys help solve the biggest mysteries of the Universe.
The only thing girls like more than dynamite is MORE dynamite!
Even their toys have toys.
Some things never change.
These toys and the knowledge they provide bring a lot of happiness!
These toys have have turned ordinary women into extraordinary trailblazers.
These women are exploring the far reaches of the Universe.
Though the hashtag may be new, the sentiment is not.
Girls and their toys will shape the future.
[Header image credit: Mika McKinnon]