Thoughts on being a girl in VEX?

Our club actually has girls only teams, but I still hear similar complaints about how their team will not allow them to contribute anything, and honestly, I feel like Vex is just tougher on first timers and people who don’t pretend to know everything. Last year was my first year and I had a hard time contributing anything since the team would just shutdown anything I suggested for design (maybe for the best since I don’t know much about design). So, I figured that I could just take over programming for the team since no one was doing that and now all of a sudden I’m a respected programmer. The same people that said no to my ideas were asking me to implement their ideas in code. Personally I feel like you really need to force your presence on the team- regardless of race, gender, and experience- and then you’ll be able to succeed in this program. Mistakes give experience and experience prevents mistakes.



Honestly I think that a main problem is the fact that there are already such a small percentage of girls in STEM that people just assume that guys are better at that kind of stuff. My IT magnet at my school accepts 24 students/year, and I am one of 18 guys in my grade. Being a guy, I can’t really speak from experience about it, but I can confirm that in VEX, my team was the literal definition of “boys will be boys.” For the first three seasons, we had the same three guys on the team, making it to worlds together twice, making the difficult transition from IQ to EDR, and generally building chemistry and getting to know each other really well. Then, this year, we grow to a team of four, that fourth member being a girl. At first, I will admit, I was a bit nervous about how this would affect our team, but it only got better from there. All four of us build, notebook, and design equally, and the gender difference (at least in my eyes) has been totally unnoticeable.


Guy here. The majority of official members of the vex club are male at my school (2 girls, 7 guys). But there really isn’t a gender stigma in the club, the focus ends up being on personal skills.

One of the girls naturally fell into a leadership position for one of the teams and the other girl handles public relations with other teams at competitions/ scouting out the enemy.

In the end, gender and race don’t matter in the club, all that matters is the person’s capacity for accomplishment and overall motivation.


How does this relate to my quote???

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I have my own all girl team, and I love it. But initially my first year it was very hard. Although my team made it to worlds and won excellence at States, we were still picked on by the guys in our organization. They would tell us to our faces that we did not deserve the award and that the judges were biased. That hit us hard that people in my own Vex group were putting us down instead of congratulating us. Even so, I continued to create an all girls team the next year and the year after that too. By my second and third year, the guys had settled down and were not judging us anymore, and there were a lot of very nice boys in my organization that had joined. The reason that I continued to make my own all girls team year after year, was to bring in girls that were afraid to be put down and afraid that they would join but be pushed to journal. I have nothing against boys, don’t get me wrong. I actually love teams with both genders on it. Honestly it isn’t the gender that matters at all. Even though my first team had a bad experience our first year, we did not let that pull us down, Instead we kinda used that to motivate us and to prove the boys wrong. I now enjoy being a girl in vex, because my team has been competing for the longest, so now all the other teams look up to us. To summarize: Initially I felt left out, and competing was hard, but after powering through, I love it.


My first year in robotics there were two other girls. My second year had 4 other girls. My third year I became the captain for the girls team with 6 girls, and now this year I’m club president with a girls team of 12ish girls. Being a girl in VEX varies on the team in my opinion. There are many times where I have been doubted by alliances and they ask if we’re capable. Sometimes we may not be the best but we work hard together to figure out our own problems and our designs. I feel that girls in VEX have come a long way than from what it used to be.


Fellow female here. Why are there thoughts on being a girl in VEX? We already have equality and have had it for almost 100 years. We’re equal. Not everything is about gender. There are no men and women in the STEM field, only engineers. That’s why I hate the Girl Powered movement. It used to encourage girls to join VEX, now all that it does is hold girl’s hands through VEX and make them think that things will be handed to them on a silver platter. I don’t want to be treated better or worse for the anatomy that I was born with. We’re all equal in America, and with the way things are headed, women will eventually be treated better than men. If you don’t like Minecraft, cars, etc. that’s okay. Just let them do their thing and you do yours. Notebooking is cool to, I also do it. And sometimes build, drive, and code. If you’re so worried about the boys being seen as the ones that carry the team, why don’t you do something about it. Men, women, girls, and boys are all equal in the sense of ability. Nobody is telling women anymore that they can’t do certain things. Boys aren’t better than girls, but girls aren’t better than boys. If it’s so hard being a girl there, why don’t you make a name for yourself and do something about it? Have a nice day, your fellow female.


Ya ima be honest, girlpowered is kinda wack. It used to be abt getting girls into stem but now people put girls on teams so they can get excellence. There’s so much focus put on equality that there’s less focus on having a good robot. Me, being a one person male team, should have the same opportunities as an all female team with 7 members. I will agree that there are issues against women in vex, but there are also problems against guys.


This would be nirvana. But is simply is not the case, unfortunately. There has not been equality for 100 years. It’s great that from your vantage point, you think that’s the case - it means that your corner of the world currently has equality. But that hasn’t been true for 100 years. My mother worked in STEM (it wasn’t called that in the 60s). There was a female engineer, one of very few. My mother told me of watching her brief a male engineer on her project because he was going to take a business trip and needed to present her project because females were forbidden from travelling. I would not call that equality. Yes, the world has come a long way. Is it perfect? No. I’m a female engineer who has been working in the field for 35 years.

Can you provide an example of where VEX holds girl’s hands and hands things to them on a silver platter? I simply haven’t seen that. I have had all female teams many years, and no one handed us anything on a platter. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places.


You have to understand that that was when women rights we messed up in the 1960s
Now everybody is equal. But for some reason, it is getting out of hands. EVERYBODY HAS THE SAME OPPORTUNITY. Pay is different and that should be changed but Not robotics. People are being annoying and unreasonable. The world is relying on technology so much. Like Redneck said. Everybody is equal in robotics. Men don’t get anything on a platter either, it is about hard work and perseverance. The 1960s and other years was a bad time for womens rights, now it is changed.

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40 people! Jeez! How many bots are there?

The robotics program where I go to has over 100 people and over 20 teams.

We have about 15 girls in our club. We have 2 all girl teams and the rest are scattered in mixed teams. I personally found that the mixed teams are the ones that do the best but that isnt the case all the time. Most of the girls are on the younger teams so I dont have the best insight on them being a Senior.
Two of the 5 advisors we have are girls also, so I think having someone they can look up to helps in their work.


Here’s my hot take.

For perspective, I’m 17, have 3 sisters, one brother, and my team is made up of me, two of my male friends, and one of my sisters.

In our current society, the way many (not all) guys & gals have been raised encourages different interests. Boys play soldier and want to go to space, and girls play house and (for most of the twentieth century) were expected to marry, have kids, and be subordinate to their husbands, male friends, male coworkers…

This is changing for the better.

Now, women are being told, be what you want to be! Look at barbie. Ah barbie, the controversial & unattainable image of femininity that has told my sisters, you can be anything! Do you want to be an astronaut? Go for it! Shoot the moon! take the cake! Be the you that you aspire to be!

Going back to my team…

My sister is one of my best friends, we confide in and love each other. Anyone who messes with my sister will answer to me. On my team, my sister is irreplaceable. At tournaments, when the rest of us are stressed and falling apart, she keeps a level head and brings us together. During practice, when we want to slack off and mess about, she brings us under one plan.

And, is this because she’s a girl? No!

My sister is so amazing not because or in spite of the fact that she is female, but because she is a kind, empathetic, and organized. Just like everyone, her gender doesn’t say anything about her value or capacity to learn.

Girls of vex, if a guy on your team is giving you trouble, talk to them about it. Letting it stew and bubble will only cause that point of contention to over boil at a very inopportune time.



You have a very good point. I was thinking about 100 years in the sense of when women were starting to get on their feet for equality, as in, the women’s suffrage movement. I do not believe that the world is perfect, either. A perfect world is an imperfect world in my book. I am sorry that your mother suffered from being treated like that, nobody deserves it. All that I’m trying to say is that men and women are equal in the sense of ability. I can do anything a man can, a man can do anything that a woman can (you know, besides basic anatomical aspects).

Because of the Girl Powered “movement,” many VEX teams, like @64540A said, are only recruiting girls to get a better shot at the excellence award or other judged awards. I would hate to think that judges have a bias because females are becoming more powerful, but it’s the truth. 2019 IS NOT the 60’s like you made your analogy earlier and I will stand by the fact that if we don’t do something about this soon, women WILL be treated better than men in the future.


I actually don’t think that 100 years ago has any relevance to today. I was just reacting to this quote from you:

I included the anecdote as an example of where there has not been equality within the last 100 years. However, like I said, what happened 100 years ago, is pretty irrelevant to today.

I would also be careful stating things like this:

“I would hate to think that judges have a bias because females are becoming more powerful, but it’s the truth.”

unless you have proof. I have judged many times at many levels and the breakdown of boys to girls has never been a consideration for awards such as excellence, design, think, etc. So I’m not really sure why you are so certain it’s happening. And you still haven’t provided any examples of where VEX is hand holding female teams or handing them things on a platter.


I mean, I went to a event once and the judge said “Oh, you don’t have any girls on your team” and then wrote something down. Although this is definitely not normal it can happen but that’s life and can’t be monitored, tis what it tis. (The sad part is we have a basically 50/50 team but the comp was far away and hardly anyone could come :/)


I smell a argument going on

This is exactly what I’m trying to put on the table…


For one thing, there is an appearance of almost-automatic free robot just for starting a team with all girls (and much easier than normal for any girls). This may not be the case, but to an outside, self-funded observer who has applied for that and been rejected, it sure looks like “oh, you’re a girl? Here’s $1,000 of robot - enjoy!”.

For another, better and easier advertising with automatic “claim-to-fame” just from being female. At Worlds for IQ many years ago, we were teamed with a girl-powered team for a qual match and they had a camera crew come over for in-depth pictures and interviews. The team had a very basic robot (like a platform with wheels and a claw) that wasn’t put together particularly well and that as I recall didn’t work right. We were shunted aside by the camera crew and had to stand around waiting for our pre-match strategy session while they gushed over this robot and team. We ended up winning design award for our division…

Fortunately, judged awards is an area that we haven’t observed any obvious weirdness related to gender. As far as I’ve seen in our region, that is a non-discriminatory area (as it should be!).


we kinda just tease the ones in our team with them being a vsco girl, but thats all a “joke”. We usually get a long pretty well with them though and we have a pretty strong overall team.

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Thank you. Examples are great. Not to be argumentative - but want to make sure the facts are stated correctly - a team does not have to be all girls to get a Girl Powered grant. It only needs to be 50% girls. And, in fact, RECF advertises lots of grants besides the Girl Powered one: