Ellen Koojiman, who designed the figures for the LEGO Ideas online competition, noticed a flaw with the toy company's offerings. "As a female scientist 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," she wrote in a blog post.
Though LEGO did release a female "scientist" figure in 2013, she did not have a specific focus. Through social media, Kooijman's collection received 10,000 supporters. "This awesome model is an inspiring set that offers a lot for kids as well as adults," LEGO said in an official statement.
The Washington Post reports that women comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce and nearly 60% of bachelor degree recipients. Yet, they fill just 24% of science, technology, engineering, and math jobs, according to the Department of Commerce. Though it may be impossible to prove women choose their career choices based on their childhood toys, it's certainly fair to say that young girls can't know what they don't learn. And, if their toys are rooted in outdated, gendered stereotypes, it's not so farfetched to think that a girl would aspire to be only those careers she sees her Barbie doing.
The Research Institute hits toy stores in August 2014. And, we're hoping LEGO one day includes Koojiman's additional designs of a geologist, robotics engineer, and judge, among others. (Washington Post)