Female scientists will be the focus of a new Legos set this winter, the product of a contest in which six potential new Lego sets were put to a vote via social media. The winner was a set created by Ellen Kooijman, a geoscientist who put forth the idea to help spur interest in the math and science professions among girls.
Priced at $19.99, the set includes the three Minifigs, each with its own small scene. One is a paleontologist, another is an astronomer and the third is a chemist. Among other ideas, it beat out a set for television show Sherlock, one for the Legend of Zelda video game, and another for children’s show Adventure Time.
The set saw a huge outpouring of support from social media, with one Lego news aggregator, GlenBricker, noting that chatter about the set, followed up with votes, happened very rapidly once word started getting out.
One of the reasons this set is such a big deal, noted Quartz, is that there is a need for more women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. The fastest growing professions are all in the STEM categories, according to a U.S. News & World Report story, but women currently make up just 26 percent of those professions.
One way to combat that is to inspire and maintain young girls' interest in STEM professions—and toys are a good way to start that, Quartz said. In kindergarten, the article noted, the interest in STEM fields was fairly equal between boys and girls. But by high school, there is a massive gap, with girls reporting no interest in the fields, or believing they cannot do those jobs.
A Scientific American blog post noted that male Minifigs have outweighed female Minifigs by 4:1. But Lego is now attempting to address that disparity, releasing sets that feature females right alongside their male counterparts.