Lego Is Creating Female Scientist Minifigures, and They're Designed by a Woman

The toy maker is bringing gender diversity to its new characters.

(Photo: AIatariel/Twitter)

Jun 9, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Good news for Lego fans who want more figurines that feature women doing something other than cooking in a pink block kitchen. The Denmark-based company has approved a set of three inspiring female figurines who know their way around a lab. It gets better: A woman scientist created them.

“I had noticed two things about the available Lego sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures,” wrote geochemist Ellen Kooijman on her blog. “It seemed logical that I would suggest a small set of female minifigures in interesting professions to make our LEGO city communities more diverse.”

To that end, Kooijman submitted her designs for a scientist, a paleontologist, and an astronomer, all female, to the Lego Ideas project site in 2012. Anyone can submit to the site, but after a proposed project has more than 10,000 votes from the public, a Lego review board evaluates the proposal. If it seems like it could be a winner, Lego launches it into production. Reaching the 10,000-vote threshold took a year; once that happened, the review board was sold on Kooijman's idea.

“This awesome model is an inspiring set that offers a lot for kids as well as adults,” said Lego in a statement. The company has received plenty of backlash for its gendered play sets, including a scathing letter from a seven-year-old who complained in February that girl figurines only "sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and had no jobs." Meanwhile, their male peers “went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs.”

Although the final design and price details are still being worked out, LEGO says the scientific trio should be in stores in August.