Girls in Science: Lego NASA Scientists!
Interested in space? Love Legos? Aware of the gender gap in STEM fields? You're going to love the fact that Lego is soon releasing a set of five minifigures representing women who have made great strides in the field of astronomy.
image credit: Maia Weinstock
Have you ever heard of:
Margaret Hamilton, who developed the onboard flight software for the Apollo missions?
Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space?
Nancy Grace Roman, also known as the “Mother of Hubble” for her work on the Hubble Space Telescope and the first Chief of Astronomy in NASA's Office of Space Science?
The late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space?
All of these women are soon going to be represented by tiny plastic statues. Young girls and boys (and older girls and boys, because who ever gets tired of Legos?) will soon be familiar with these names, these faces, and the roles they played in creating the space programs that expanded our collective view of the universe.
This ingenious move was the idea of Maia Weinstock, a science writer and editor at MIT News. Take a look at her article on the importance of adding more female STEM figurines to Lego.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to be purchasing lots of these Lego sets for the littles in my life. Why? Because recognizing the contributions of women is incredibly important. History, especially the history of science, contains many stories of men and few of women and people of color. It's refreshing to see companies such as Lego say, "Let's fix this." The more female STEM figures that can be found in toy boxes around the world, the more chances girls will have to recognize their potential in STEM fields.
It's far easier to see yourself at a job when you have already seen someone who looks like you at the same job. This is one reason we publish our Girls in Science series of books about women currently working in different science and technology fields. Everyone needs role models, whether they are on paper, on the screen, or molded in plastic. Thanks, Lego!