Could this fan-created female scientist set help Lego fix some of its gender gap issues?
In January, a letter from an adorably irate seven-year-old girl named Charlotte went viral. In it, she asks the company why they not only make more boy minifigures (or "minifigs" as they are known) but why the ones they do make for girls seem to be lacking in—let's say "ambition." Charlotte wrote "All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs."
Lego has repeatedly come under fire for failing to bridge the gender gap when it comes to how they design and market toys for girls, most notably in its minifig line. In September, Lego released its first female-scientist minifigure, hailed as a landmark moment for the toy company. The company also released a statement addressing the issue:
It reads, "We believe that Lego play appeals to children of both genders and all ages." It continues with, "Lego play has often been more appealing to boys, but we have been very focused on including more female characters and themes that invite even more girls to build, and in the last few years, we are thrilled that we have dramatically increased the number of girls who are choosing to build."
Now, some are urging the company to do even more. One project in particular is getting a lot of attention:
The project is a female minifigure set currently under review for possible production. It has nothing to do with beaches or the color pink. It's a set of female scientists, including an astronomer, a paleontologist, and a laboratory worker. It's a bunch of ladies doing awesome science stuff, just like real women scientists.
The project can be currently seen at Lego's CUUSOO site, a community where fans can show off their own custom kits. If they get enough votes, their sets could make it on to the Lego production line. Created by user Alatariel, the kit focuses on professional female minifigures, such as scientists:
Although recently LEGO® has started to design and add more female figures to their sets, they are still a minority. A small set of minifigures would provide a great opportunity to add women to our LEGO® town or city communities. I have designed some professional female minifigures that also show that girls can become anything they want, including a paleontologist or an astronomer. Being a geochemist myself the geologist and chemist figures are based on me:-) Due to the limitations of LDD the heads and hairstyles I used here are a bit limited. Ideally, Lego would use some 'rare' face and hair designs if they were to produce a set....
Because the project is climbing to 10k really fast it's time to evaluate which sets are most popular so Lego can take that into account when they review the project. Many people have left comments indicating their preferred designs - thanks! - and it is clear that the Science-based ones are favored. As such, I would like to propose that the final set will represent a versatile Research Institute comprising the labs of the Astronomer, the Paleontologist, and the Chemist.
The motto of these Scientists is clear: explore the world and beyond! The Astronomer discovers new stars and planets with the telescope, the Paleontologist studies the origin of the dinosaurs and the Chemist does experiments in the laboratory. The complete set consists of 138 parts.
It has become increasingly popular, and the latest word on the project from the company seems to be positive. In a message posted last month, the company acknowledged Alatariel's design, offering congratulations but making no promises about any formal release:
Congratulations again to Alatariel for reaching 10,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO, and toward everyone for all your support for the Female Minifigure Set. As of today, we're still evaluating the Female Minifigure Set project.
The company says once they have reached a decision, they'll announce it in the CUUSOO blog.
Let's all cross our collective fingers and pull for Alatariel's project. We all know the world of children's toys could use a whole lot more like it and a whole lot less of crap like this.
Image via Alatariel