LEGO introduces female lab scientist

LEGO’s new female scientist “minifigure” helps break stereotypes that discourage girls from considering STEM careers, writes Maia Weinstock, a Scientific American guest blogger.

Originally, LEGO people wore very simple clothing and had “two dots and a curved smile for a face,” writes Weinstock. Minifigures were introduced in 1978.

The first female minifig in LEGO’s Space series was an
Cover edit 3
astronaut in the Ice Planet 2002 series, which depicted scientists working on the fictional planet Krysto.

LEGO’s Town (now City) series, which features minifigs in everyday life, includes doctors, EMTs, engineers, astronauts and space scientists. A Town doctor was the first female minifig in the series.

Most STEM professionals issued recently have been male, including the Computer Programmer, which debuted last year. He’s a cringe-worthy stereotype, writes Weinstock. Cover edit 3 “His nerdy attire, including bow tie and broken glasses, harkens back to an era and style that rendered programmers completely uncool.” (Are they cool now?)

LEGO also has a thing for mad scientists. The first one “wore a lab coat, a stethoscope, and a patently diabolical face.” Now there’s a wild-gray-haired Crazy Scientist, though he doesn’t look quite so evil.

Here are some examples of male and female minifigures in STEM-related professions.

Examples of male and female minifigures in STEM-related professions

 

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Comments

  1. Seeing the lack of women field scientists, I and my son cooked up some of our own:

    http://smallpondscience.com/2013/09/05/more-female-lego-scientists-please/

  2. Oh, for crying out loud. Does anybody really think that a “female” Lego minifigure is going to be *the* thing that will push a girl fence-sitter onto the side of pursuing a STEM career?

    Here’s a hint: Kids will mix and match heads, torsos, legs, hair, etc. to come up with the minifigures they want. They will even stack several heads on one minifigure and create a “monster,” or dozens of other permutations that the Lego creators never envisioned nor intended. That’s what my own kids do, and I hardly think they are unique in this regard ~

  3. I’m happy to see more female minifigs–after all, girls like Legos too. If Lego doubts that they should come and see my daughter’s bedroom. We love the weird ones best though–mad scientists rock!