Back in June, we reported that LEGO had approved production of the Research Institute set, designed by a female geochemist, which would feature a female astronomer, chemist, and paleontologist. The announcement came after public demand for equal representation of female minifigures hit an all-time high, one such request coming from a young girl named Charlotte, who wrote a letter to the company that read in part:
“I am 7 years old and I have LEGOs, but I don’t like that there are more LEGO boy people and barely any LEGO girls. Today I went to a store and saw LEGOs in two sections…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 make more LEGO girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun OK?!?”
Ellen Kooijman, the scientist who designed the Research Institute set, shared Charlotte’s frustration, and after pitching her idea to the company and earning 10,000 supporters, Kooijman explained on on her blog:
“The idea for the project came very naturally and the question how I came up with it always makes me smile. 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. It seemed logical that I would suggest a small set of female minifigures in interesting professions to make our LEGO city communities more diverse.”
Now little Charlotte and countless other young girls (and LEGO-loving adults) who aspire to do more than shop and get a perm can finally rejoice; the Research Institute set is now officially available for purchase, and while the female scientist minifigures don’t swim with sharks, they do have dinosaur fossils, a telescope, and a decked-out lab, so we’d say they are well on their way to having some non-leisure-related adventures!