Thursday 26 February 2015

"Like A Girl", Aussie netball style

The "Like a Girl" campaign, Aussie netball style. Well done Fox Sports Australia. ANZ Championship kicks off this weekend. Support women's sport and get along to a game, or at least try to catch it on TV (if you can find it).


Wednesday 25 February 2015

Kano - my son's Best. Present. Ever.

Last Christmas we got our 8yo a Kano DIY computer kit, which he says is his Best. Present. Ever. Since then I've had a few parents ask me about it, so I thought I'd put the info here so I can just refer any other queries here.*

The idea behind it is this - kids today have access to devices like tablets or smartphones that are already fully-functioning, but they don't get the chance to start from scratch (a'la Bill Gates in the garage in the 70's), and understand what goes on underneath it all.

The Kano is a build-your-own computer kit using a Raspberry Pi, which is a credit-card sized computer processor. You could just buy a Raspberry Pi on it's own but then you'd still need to get a keyboard, mouse, SD card etc. The Kano is a kid-friendly kit that has all that in it (although you still need to get your own monitor, that's not part of the kit). You just order via the Kano website and it's free shipping worldwide.

After they assemble all the bits (there are instructions), they need to install the Kano operating system and then they join KanoWorld (using parental email address), and work through various tasks and skills, and get points so they can advance to higher levels. There are things like Pong, a music editor, Minecraft and some coding stuff, among others. They're using the Internet, but they don't have free-range.

The Raspberry Pi is that little contraption bottom-left of pic
I have to say that Kano's support is fantastic. One of the tasks they can get points for is to send an email to Kano support. I had no idea my son had done this until I got the email (he's set up using my email account). They replied the next day and gave him the info he requested!

Of course, the Raspberry Pi can be used for other things, there are pages of "Raspberry Pi for kids" links with projects they can do. My son is eyeing off some giant toy spider project at the moment, where you program a Raspberry Pi to make the spider walk across the floor, eek. :/

* Disclaimer: I don't work for Kano or know anybody who does! I just think it's awesome. :)

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Retail sexism

Last Saturday we visited the local shopping centre. My son wanted to go into Rebel Sport to look at getting a soccer scarf with his pocket money. My daughter said excitedly "Maybe I could get a Diamonds top?!"

For the uninitiated, the Australian Diamonds are Australia's national netball team. Netball is the most popular female sport in Australia. In August, Australia will be hosting the Netball World Cup, with teams from 16 countries from 5 regions of the globe competing.

On entering Rebel, we were greeted with row-upon-row of authorised apparel from AFL (Australian Rules Football), NRL (rugby), A-League (soccer) and NBA (American basketball). Only the male team versions. Although to be fair, the Melbourne Storm NRL section did offer one rather fetching number where they'd blended the purple club colours with a bit of hot pink, clearly to make it attractive to the lay-dies.

We made our way around to the netball section, where we found a selection of balls, gloves, goal rings, a few skirts and other bits and pieces of equipment. But - no official Australian Diamonds gear. Nor any official Melbourne Vixens gear.

I went back to the NBA section, searching for something like a Lauren Jackson WNBA top (she's an Aussie playing women's basketball in the USA). Nope.

I asked an employee where the women's sport authorised apparel was. He actually giggled at me, before saying they didn't have any "but you can get it online".

Online doesn't help my 11 year old daughter. She wants to look, and try on a top or a scarf or a hat, and consider what to spend her pocket money on before she buys. Like her brother can with HIS sporting gear choices. Apparently the only way she can do this with the sport SHE loves, is to buy a ticket to a game and go to the official merchandise stand at the event. Or buy online, and pay postage costs, and potentially pay higher postage costs if the item she chooses is the wrong size. I don't know about anybody else's kids, but mine don't get enough pocket money to waste half of it on postage.

The next day, I was in a different part of town and decided to visit the local Rebel, just to see if they had any female sport authorised apparel. Nope.

So I sent a tweet to Rebel:

And that was the end of it.

When I related this story to some friends, one said "maybe there's no demand". There is a WORLD CUP coming up, in Australia, in 6 months time. I would argue they wouldn't have a clue if there's demand or not, because none of them are actually making even a single rack available to test it out.

I visited a few other large retail sporting good stores to see if this is across-the-board. Yep.

I'm not actually sure who I'm mad at - retail stores for being sexist, or people in general for making male sport so important and female sport so unimportant. I do know that I'm very disappointed that my 11yo daughter already knows that HER Australian, female sport is not seen to be as important in a retail sense as American (men's) basketball.

**Update 26-Feb-2015**
I should have added - the ANZ Championship (the annual Australia/New Zealand national tournament) starts THIS WEEKEND. We all should be able to buy Vixens, Firebirds, Thunderbirds or whatever the local team apparel is, IN a store. Nope...