Web

Advocate seeks better gender equity in the Lego universe with formal proposal

gender equality legos nasa
LEGO.com
Minus the penguin and the dog, there appear to be 17 Lego characters in the above image, featured on the toy company’s mini-figures landing page.

But take a closer look, and you’ll find that only three of the lot are easily identifiable as women (including one named the “Ice Queen“). That’s a whopping 18 percent, and reflects the unfortunate state of gender equality in the Lego world.

While the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey found that women make up 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, they comprise only 24 percent of workers in STEM fields — that is, fields involving science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Maia Weinstock, MIT News deputy editor and advocate for women in STEM, has decided to take the fight to the Lego world.

Weinstock has proposed the creation of a Lego “Women of NASA” mini-figure set to both improve the gender breakdown of Lego characters and increase the representation of female characters in STEM fields. The set would include Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman, and Mae Jemison, all of whom have held critical positions at NASA.

While of course the creation of such a set wouldn’t immediately improve the state of gender equality, normalizing women in Lego STEM jobs may broaden the outlook of young girls for when they make their career choices later.

As Lego’s “Ideas” policies dictate, after a proposal is submitted, it needs 10,000 supporters to move on to a review process at Lego HQ. The proposal had 8,623 signatures at time of publication with 715 days left to hit the 10,000 goal.

As the description on the mini-figure proposal reads, “Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program, also know as NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of [STEM].”

Emerging Tech

Harvard University has a bold new plan to make Mars livable for humans

Want to live on Mars? Harvard researchers have a bold new way to make it happen. Their plan involves covering portions of Mars with an insulating aerogel. Here's why it could work.
Emerging Tech

How pioneering pilot Jackie Cochran helped and hurt the Women in Space Program

Before Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, Jackie Cochran funded the Women in Space Program. The pioneering woman pilot never realized her dream of venturing into space.
Emerging Tech

Life after launch: Inside the massive effort to preserve NASA’s space artifacts

The Apollo 11 mission put a man on the moon, but NASA didn’t necessarily preserve every step of the process. Researchers are trying to rescue the history on Earth and on the moon.
Emerging Tech

See how a life-sized astronaut was built from LEGO bricks

LEGO has unveiled a life-sized model of an astronaut constructed entirely from bricks, as well as a time lapse video of the model being built. It is based on the suit Neil Armstrong wore when he made his historic small step.
Web

Dirty deeds are uncovered dirt cheap with these online background check resources

There are plenty of reasons for carrying out a background check, and not all of them are creepy. Here are several methods to run a background check on someone online, whether you need to vet a potential hire or a new babysitter.
Mobile

Is the Apple Card any better than a regular credit card? We asked an expert

The new Apple Card is integrated with your iPhone and comes with a titanium backup card for places that don’t accept Apple Pay, but how does it stack up against the competition? We asked some experts to find out.
News

Expedia warns travelers of customer service refund scam

Scammers are posing as employees of Expedia to take money from unknowing consumers. Expedia Group and the Better Business Bureau teamed up to warn consumers of these scams that have been reported within the last several days.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
News

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing, Google has created an interactive Google Doodle that takes users to the moon. The Google Doodle, made in partnership with NASA, features a short illustrated video…
Computing

Slack is resetting user passwords in response to a 2015 data breach

In response to recently discovered information regarding a 2015 data breach, collaboration software company Slack will be resetting the passwords of some of its user accounts beginning July 18.
News

These 6 popular browser extensions are selling your data

Some popular browser extensions are collecting and selling your data, according to a a new investigation. The extensions in question are Hover Zoom, SpeakIt!, SuperZoom, SaveFrom.net Helper, FairShare Unlock and PanelMeasurement.
Computing

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

The bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying tech jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.