New women-empowering LEGO line ready for launch

Rows+and+rows+of+Lego+people+assembled+by+Micah+Slentz+and+his+friends+wait+to+be+packaged+and+shipped+to+Uganda.+Slentz%2C+9%2C+has+started+a+group+to+collect+used+Legos+for+kids+in+underprivileged+schools+in+Africa.+%28Sam+Gangwer%2FOrange+County+Register%2FTNS%29

Rows and rows of Lego people assembled by Micah Slentz and his friends wait to be packaged and shipped to Uganda. Slentz, 9, has started a group to collect used Legos for kids in underprivileged schools in Africa. (Sam Gangwer/Orange County Register/TNS)

Jessica Wojton

Earlier this week, LEGO announced that they are in the stages of producing a line of LEGOS based off of the first five female NASA engineers. The women being replicated are Margaret Hamilton (computer scientist), Katherine Johnson (mathematician and space scientist), Sally Ride (astronaut, physicist and educator), Nancy Grace Roman (astronomer) and Mae Jemison (astronaut, physician and entrepreneur).

The idea sparked from the Academy Award nominated movie “Hidden Figures,” a movie adaption of the first female, black NASA engineers. The movie and line of LEGOs hope to boost young girls’ confidence in pursuing a STEM career.

“I think movies like ‘Hidden Figures’ and products like LEGO will definitely encourage girls to pursue science more. There has never been a lot of representation of women in science, so I think girls never really realize that science is something they could want to do. With new movies and toys coming out showing women in science, I think little girls will become more interested because they will see someone like themselves doing extraordinary things,” Alexis Wilkes (12) said.

Showing girls at an early age that women can accomplish just as much as a man is an important step towards breaking boundaries for careers and gender roles. Although one line of LEGO products may not seem like that big of a deal to some people, it can be beneficial for aspiring female scientists.

I think for a lot of girls, they think that science, math and engineering is a ‘man’s world’ and they don’t even consider going into it. I think seeing other powerful females pave the way for young adults gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams and study what they want in college. Even at younger ages, seeing women in these roles lets girls grow up realizing that there are no gender stereotypes anymore when it comes to science,” Mrs. Lauryn Vukas, Science, said.

This new project may not be the overall solution to stereotypes in the workplace; hopefully, it can be a small step towards a more accepting world.

“In this day and age, completely erasing gender roles would be a difficult task. However, these are definitely steps in the right direction. There has already been an increase of women in the STEM field than earlier generations, and hopefully there will be more to come,” Payal Bhatt (12) said.