Not So Hidden Mini Figures: LEGO's Women of NASA
Presenting the LEGO Women of NASA!
Five fabulous figurines will soon be here and in your kids’ toybox thanks to the LEGO Ideas program, which supports proposals for new and innovative sets created by fans. This particularly pivotal project was proposed and created by Maia Weinstock, a science editor and writer at MIT News.
Weinstock wrote on her LEGO submission page that she wanted to honor women in NASA because “in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated.” She got 10,000 supporters, which made the team at LEGO Ideas sit up and take notice.
“We’re really excited to be able to introduce Maia’s Women of NASA set for its inspirational value as well as build and play experience,” reads a post by the LEGO Ideas team.
These special editions are not full-sized, but we are sure their impact will be huge. After all, recent studies have shown time and time again how important it is for kids, especially girls and minorities, to see themselves and their classmates represented in the toys they play with. It helps them to connect to their dreams, and gives them a sense of belonging in the world.
“Toys play a pivotal role, especially early on,” says Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, a non-profit fostering the idea of bringing more women into technology, “in what girls think they can be. You can’t be what you cannot see, and if you’re not comfortable tinkering and taking things apart and building things, you’re not going to go into those careers.”
Though some might grouse it’s taken long enough, and perhaps this is in response to public pressure, Saujani says, “I applaud LEGO for their hidden figures. I think efforts, like by LEGO, that are trying to change this and to show a different cultural aspect for young girls is really important.”
Commemorated in the set are astronauts Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; “Mother of Hubble” Nancy Grace Roman; and mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson. Johnson holds the famous issue of the New York Times that followed the Apollo launch she helped make possible; Hamilton codes at her computer; Roman is next to the Hubble Space Telescope; while Ride and Jemison stand next to a scale model of the Space Shuttle (in the proposal – the LEGOs aren’t on the market yet). In addition to the mini-figures of these pioneering women, the LEGO Women of NASA set includes everything kids need to display them proudly. There’s a backdrop with each woman’s name printed on a tile and four detailed little vignettes that let imaginations play in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
NASA announced through Twitter that the toy set will be available in about a year. The final look and cost still has not been decided, but we’re sure a lot of special attention will be paid to such an important new toy. One thing that LEGO has guaranteed by choosing to produce this groundbreaking set: they’re going to have an Ideas sellout for sure. You’ll have to get your order in quickly once LEGO puts this set on sale.