By Tina Chen
Lego’s first female minifigure scientist is breaking through the glass ceiling, one Erlenmeyer flask at a time.
Professor C. Bodin, Lego’s first female scientist, took the limelight this weekend as Lego introduced its Minifigure Series 11 to the world. Professor C. Bodin comes equipped with an impressive resume, winning the “coveted Nobrick Prize for her discovery of the theoretical System/DUPLO® Interface,” according to her bio. This Scientist’s specialties include “how to connect bricks of different sizes and shapes” or mixing two colors in one element.
Not far from reality, most Lego STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) minifigs are male. (There is a female astronaut.) The unveiling of Professor C. Bodin, also known as the Scientist, addresses and confronts the lack of women in the hard sciences. Professor C. Bodin’s introduction in the math and science series is a breakthrough, bridging the gender gap in Lego Minifigs and fighting the stereotype in real life.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, research shows that strongly gender-typed toys “might encourage attributes that aren’t ones you actually want to foster.” Through Professor Judith Elaine Blakemore’s research, a professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University, it has been found that girls’ toys are most often “associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing and domestic skills,” which may mean that for girls, it will emphasize the importance of cosmetics and physical appearance, with the most important message being to look pretty.
But the introduction of the Scientist is breaking through gender barriers, one mini brick figure at a time.
“Anything that gives girls a sense of belonging” is positive, Janice Earle, a senior program director in the Research and Evaluation on Education at the National Science Foundation, told ABC News.
“Having something that you can relate to, because you see that they are like you, is not insignificant,” she told ABC News, and that will produce a positive impact on girls and the general public’s perception of females in the fields of science, technology and engineering. It’s that feeling of ‘Gee, if someone like me is there doing that work,’ then ‘I can too.’”
Professor C. Bodin is accompanied by Diner Waitress, Evil Mech, Jazz Musician, Holiday Elf, Constable, Dirndl Girl, Scarecrow, Barbarian, Welder, Mountain Climber, Grandma, Island Warrior and a Gingerbread Man in Lego’s latest minifig collection. In stark contrast to the Scientist, there is also the Lady Robot, decorated in pink accessories and rosy cheeks. She has a feat others can’t claim: She claims to party like nobody else.