3 Mar 2017

The Lego Women of NASA

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:16 pm on 3 March 2017

Lego has announced it will developing a Women of NASA set. It will feature figurines depicting, among others, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space - and Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician whose work was vital to NASA's space programme and inspired Hidden Figures.

This project was created by Maia Weinstock, a science editor and writer at MIT News, who entered the Lego Ideas contest

New Zealand microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles has also spent several years lobbying Lego to end gender stereotypes, including a petition and open letter.

Lego came under fire in 2012 when it introduced its Lego Friends series, targeted at girls. The figurines were more slender and doll-like and did activities such as visiting the salon.

Then, three years ago, a letter sent to the company by a seven-year-old girl, Charlotte Benjamin, went viral, and the company began introducing more female mini-figures with jobs such as scientists. In her words:

Dear Lego Company:

My name is Charlotte. I am 7 years old and I love legos but I don't like that there are more boy people and barely any lego girls. Today I went to a store and saw legos in two sections. The pink (girls) and the blue (boys). All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.

I want you to go make more lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun, ok!?!