Besides being awful to step on, LEGO is on our minds for another, much happier reason: Feminism. Every year, LEGO takes proposals from fans for new ideas via their LEGO Ideas site — and this year, they've decided to create a collectible set of Women of NASA LEGO Minifigs, designed by Maia Weinstock, deputy editor of MIT News and science writer. It sends an important message to kids (and everyone, really) everywhere: People can be whatever they want to be, regardless of their gender identity. Can you think of a better way to kick off Women's History Month? Because I definitely can't.
The Women of NASA proposal first appeared on the Lego Ideas site back in July of 2016. By July 21, it had 1,000 supporters; by July 27, 5,000. It hit 10,000 supporters on Aug. 3, moving it on to LEGO's review stage — and on Feb. 28, 2017, LEGO officially announced that Women of NASA was approved for production. While many details have yet to be confirmed (like the pricing and release date), it's an exciting piece of news, particularly for women in STEM.
The set includes minifigures of astronauts Mae Jemison and Sally Ride, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer scientist Margaret Hamilton. It'll also come with related props and accessories, like rockets, telescopes, and other lab equipment.
The brilliant idea sprang to life thanks to the support of many. The project was mentioned on social media by NASA, the United Nations, and celebrities like Pharrell Williams and Janelle Monáe. It also got plenty of love from the press, including Popular Science and The New York Times. Now, Weinstock and millions of other people around the world are going to see the inspiring idea come to life.
Women in STEM still face a great deal of challenges due to barriers like stereotyping, gender bias, the nagging gender pay gap, and the current climate of these departments in colleges and universities. While women are underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering, there's some good news: Conditions are slowly (slowly) improving. The Women of NASA Lego set is one more tiny push, reminding us that anything is possible.