LEGO Is Selling A Special Women of NASA Kit Featuring Badass Lady Astronauts

Gone are the days when only little boys play with toy trucks and spaceships, while little girls nurture their baby dolls. At least, those days are starting to move into the rearview mirror. As we move toward gender equality as a culture, we’re starting to realize that when you limit a kid to a certain kind of toy based on their gender, you inadvertently limit their school and career goals. In other words, if a little girl sees that all the Legos that operate spaceships and save the world are boys, there’s a pretty good chance that she’ll internalize the idea that only boys can operate spaceships and save the world. And while that obviously isn't true, it can have long-term effects on the population of would-be scientists

Luckily, the more our culture learns about gender equity, equality and the importance of representation, the higher the demand is for badass feminist toys. Lego has caught on to this, and, to our delight, has announced that it will be selling a “Women of NASA” kit ($24.99, to be released November 1st). According to Business Insider, this kit will include mini figurines of four of NASA’s most incredible women, and each one will come with a backdrop related to each woman’s work. So, in addition to all the tiny shoes and purses they already have, little girls will be able to add the Hubble Space Telescope and the space shuttle Challenger to their toy bins. How cool is that?

Lego didn’t have to look far to find incredible women to portray in this kit. According to The Verge, the women featured in the kit definitely did the work for themselves. Nancy Grace Roman, one of the women featured, is known as the “Mother of Hubble” because of the key work she did in creating the Hubble Space Telescope. Margaret Hamilton was the “lead software designer for the Apollo 11 moon landing.” Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman in space.

This isn’t the first time Lego has come out with a super cool women-in-STEM kit. According to Scientific American, Lego’s first female lab scientist was released in 2013, and it brought to light the “persistent gender stereotypes and biases in the children's toy market.” Turns out, there’s a pretty high demand for girls toys that aren’t baby dolls or fashion dolls. (Shocker, right?) Since the release of the lab scientist minifig, Lego has made an effort to offer toys for both boys and girls in the STEM fields. Among many others, there has been a Deep Sea Explorers kit that features female oceanographers, and a Doc McStuffins kit, featuring characters from the kids TV show about a girl who acts as a doctor for her stuffed animals.

However, there is still a long ways to go when it comes to overcoming biases in kids’ toys. A quick look at the Lego website makes this clear. When I visited the home page, ads for the Ninjago, Star Wars, and Marvel Super Heroes kits were front and center. None of these ads featured a single woman. Scrolling down the homepage, the only time I saw a woman Lego was in an ad for “Lego Friends Webisode 26: Mermaid Tears.” Need I say more?

As structural engineer Roma Agrawal told Telegraph, “It’s easy to dismiss the toys we choose for our children as harmless, thinking that they have no lasting impact and are simply innocent diversions to pass their time. But toys are really only the tip of an iceberg. Later on in their lives, these early preconceptions of gender roles are reinforced. We begin to say things like 'women don’t have as much spatial awareness as men’ (or ‘women can’t park’). Is it any wonder, when from a young age girls are taught to care for things and boys are taught to break and build?”

The women featured in the Women in NASA kit were legendary way before Lego ever considered making them into minifigs, but we didn’t hear about them often enough because our culture really likes to ignore women in STEM.

So shout-out to Lego for bringing them to our attention this year! We bet more girls will want to be astronauts when they grow up than ever before —and we definitely won’t forget to consider it for all of the kiddos  in our lives this holiday season.